Chief Justice Richard Chartier
Judicial independence is a cornerstone of Canada's constitutional democracy, which is founded on the "Rule of Law". The "Rule of Law" means that we, as individuals, and as a community, are bound by, and subject to, the law and that the law applies to everyone, no matter who you are.
Under Canada's Constitution there are three branches of government. The judiciary is one of those branches. The other two are the legislative branch, which creates the law (i.e. Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures) and the executive branch, which administers and enforces the law (i.e. the Federal and Provincial Cabinets). The judicial branch (the judiciary) interprets and applies the law in individual cases.
The Constitution guarantees that judges are independent to decide cases for the benefit of those people who appear before them. This means that judges are free to decide cases before them, honestly and impartially, in accordance with the law and evidence, without concern or fear of interference, control or improper influence by another person, an institution, a corporation of the other branches of government.
Simply stated, judicial independence is fundamental to our free and democratic society and maintaining the "Rule of Law". In other words, it is fundamental to our way of life.
As Chief Justice of Manitoba, I am pleased to take this opportunity to comment on why judicial independence is so important to the "Rule of Law", to Canada and to everyone. For a more extensive explanation of judicial independence and why it is important, I recommend the publication of the Canadian Judicial Council: " Why is Judicial Independence Important to You?"
The Honourable Richard Chartier, Chief Justice of Manitoba