A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge has declared the pay scheme for the province’s justices of the peace unconstitutional.
A complicated formula links the JPs’ salaries to that of provincial court judges, which are in turn set by the government based on the recommendations of an independent tribunal. But in his Feb. 1 judgment, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Gerald Moir concluded that was too much distance to guarantee judicial independence for the JPs.
“The Provincial Court Judges’ Remuneration Tribunal has no authority to, and does not, make recommendations on justices’ remuneration. Their process may be independent, objective, and effective as regards the judges. However, it is not ‘representative’ as regards the justices because they are not involved, it does not ‘objectively consider . . . submissions’ about the justices’ remuneration because it has no authority to do so, and its work is not ‘effective’ as regards the justices’ remuneration because there is no consultative report on that subject,” wrote Moir. “In short, the lynchpin is missing. Consequently, the independence of the justices is not assured. Therefore, the regulation setting remuneration for Nova Scotia’s presiding justices of the peace is unconstitutional.”