The Quebec government and court have appointed an arbitrator in hopes of finding ways to resolve their dispute over reform of the judges’ work schedule.
Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette and the Chief Justice of the Quebec Court, Lucie Rondeau, announced on Friday that they “have jointly appointed Mr Jacques Chamberland as mediator to accompany them in finding common solutions to reorganize the work of the Judges in Criminal and Criminal Cases”.
A press release clarified that “discussions began in January 2023” and that they remain confidential.
Photo archive, Agency QMI
The Chief Justice of the Quebec Court, Lucie Rondeau.
Jacques Chamberland had more than 28 years of experience as a judge on the Quebec Court of Appeals before retiring in October 2021. He also served in the Quebec civil service from 1988 to 1993 as Deputy Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of Quebec.
This is notable progress considering the relationship between Mr Jolin-Barrette and Ms Rondeau has been tumultuous since the Chief Justice’s decision to reduce the number of days judges hear cases. They now sit every other day instead of two days out of three as they used to.
Judge Rondeau is calling for the hiring of 41 new judges. For its part, Quebec does not want to allocate more resources without the certainty that doing so will lead to efficiency gains.
In the meantime, reducing the number of hearing days risks exacerbating the already significant delays in the judicial system, making the risk of trial failure real.