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New committee to help appoint Nunavut judges, looking for members

Canada's justice minister is calling for candidates for a new Nunavut judicial advisory committee, as part of the federal government's reforms to how judges are appointed.

The territory's court system has been feeling the effects of its judicial vacancies

"My hope is that Nunavut Land Claims Beneficiaries will apply for the positions of Public Representatives on the Federal Judicial Advisory Committee for Nunavut," says Justice Minister Jody Wilson Raybould. (Nick Murray/CBC)

Canada's justice minister is calling for candidates for a new Nunavut judicial advisory committee, as part of the federal government's reforms to how judges are appointed.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson Raybould is looking to appoint three people to this new committee. The group will review applications for judges in Nunavut and make recommendations on who should be appointed. The deadline to apply is Nov. 17.

"We know that the quality of Canada's judiciary is second to none. By making the judicial appointments process more open, transparent and accountable, we are now also enabling our judiciary to become more reflective of Canada's diversity," Wilson Raybould said in a statement.

"To this end, Judicial Advisory Committees across the country are being reconstituted with members who reflect the diversity of their communities. My hope is that Nunavut Land Claims Beneficiaries will apply for the positions of Public Representatives on the Federal Judicial Advisory Committee for Nunavut."

Court system stretched​

Nunavut has been in dire need of judges since former Senior Judge Robert Kilpatrick made a public plea to the federal government last December. 

The court system has already been feeling the effects of its short bench, having cut 16 criminal docket weeks from the calendar in anticipation of a high workload on its judiciary.

Since Kilpatrick's plea, he has retired — opening the second vacancy — and Nunavut was snubbed from getting any new judges during the last two rounds of federal appointments by Wilson Raybould, in May and again last month. 
Former senior Nunavut judge Robert Kilpatrick made a public plea to the federal government last December. (Nick Murray/CBC)

This, despite Nunavut's vetting committee meeting for the first time in four years back in April, and signing off on a number of recommendations for new judges.

All previous applications vacated

With the new system in place, everyone who had previously applied for a judicial appointment in Nunavut will now have to re-apply. That also means the recommendations from the old vetting committee are no longer valid.

​There is good news, though. A spokesperson for Wilson Raybould's office confirmed to CBC News that the minister plans to announce a number of deputy judge appointments in the near future.

Those who need help applying to be on the new committee can contact Clare Henderson at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit.  She can be reached toll free at 1-866-286-0546 or by emailing ncj.chambers@gov.nu.ca.

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