The Ontario government has announced plans to bolster the diversity of provincial court appointments with reforms to the province’s Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee. Lawyers say that this is a needed move, as the Ontario Court of Justice is noticeably lacking in diversity, especially outside of Toronto.

“It’s a positive thing that the government is seeking a diversity of candidates when looking at judicial applications,” says Michael Spratt, partner with Abergel Goldstein & Partners LLP and also former vice president of the Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa.

“What we see across the province is a bench and judges that don’t necessarily reflect the communities in which they sit,” says Spratt. “This is particularly problematic in Ottawa where I can count the number of racialized judges on one hand — in fact, one finger.”

Spratt says that when judges reflect the diversity in their communities, it leads to a broader range of life experiences and enhances both the trial and sentencing process.

Read the full article: Law Times

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