Bill to raise bar for JPs gaining traction among lawyers

Jun 12, 2012 By Matthew Friedberg

Less than a year after the provincial government updated the way it appoints justices of the peace, an MPP is calling for changes aimed at raising the bar.

‘This bill is something that should be strongly supported by everyone who cares about justice and fairness,’ says Matthew Friedberg. David Orazietti, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., is suggesting a two-tiered system that would create administrative and presiding justices of the peace. His private member’s bill introduced on May 31 would require those serving as presiding justices of the peace to have at least five years’ experience as a lawyer

A presiding justice of the peace would oversee legal matters involving individual freedoms and liberties, as well as issues of a complex legal nature.

An administrative justice of the peace’s role would have limited responsibilities involving Provincial Offences Act issues, interim release orders, issuing subpoenas and summonses, taking affidavits, and performing civil marriages.

They wouldn’t hear applications under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, send people to jail or order property seizures.

Under the current system, lay members of the community can work as justices of the peace at an annual salary of $120,652. Candidates must have worked for at least 10 years and have a degree, diploma or equivalent qualifications.

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