One of the most important things about Canada’s justice system is that the judges are independent, impartial, and objective. Judges cannot be pressured into making particular decisions by the government, the police, or private citizens.
Nobody can pressure a judge into making a particular decision. To safeguard against corruption:
Further, to ensure court cases are impartial and objective, sometimes a judge may be required to excuse her or himself from a case. This can happen for many reasons, including when:
If judges have other reasons that may make it difficult for them to be objective or impartial, they will excuse themselves from a case. If a judge is excused, another judge will hear the case.
These rules ensure that judges are free to make good decisions based on the facts of the case and what the law says.
A judge’s decision must be accepted. However, in some cases the decision can be appealed to a higher court. Allowing a higher court to review cases is another way courts apply law fairly.
Judges take objectivity very seriously. Objectivity is the concept that decisions are based strictly on facts. Sometimes, things happen that put into question the judge’s ability to objectively decide a case.
For example, in 2010 a Quebec man was on trial for robbery. Lawyers at the trial noticed that the judge appeared to be struggling to stay awake. When asked, the judge admitted that she “lost attention.” The judge said she would review the court proceedings to ensure she did not miss anything.
The prosecutors were concerned that the judge could not objectively look at the facts because she may have slept through testimony important to the prosecution’s case. The defence lawyers did not share this concern. The judge agreed with the prosecutors, and she excused herself from the case.