National Defence
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JAG Role and Responsibilities :::  


Consistent with the long held traditions of British common law and to ensure the transparent accountability of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) to the Minister of National Defence, the National Defence Act (NDA) provides for the appointment of the JAG and sets out the duties, powers and functions of the position in Canadian law, as follows:

  • The JAG is the legal adviser to the Governor General, the Minister of National Defence, the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Forces (CF) in matters relating to military law.
  • The JAG is charged explicitly and specifically with the superintendence of the administration of the military justice system in the CF.
  • Except for military judges, the JAG is one of only two members of the CF appointed by the Governor in Council.

 

Legislation

The National Defence Act, R.S.C. 1985, chapter N-5, was amended when Parliament passed the National Defence Act, S.C. 1998, chapter 35, which received Royal assent on December 10, 1998 and came into force on 1 September, 1999.

The National Defence Act is a statute of Canada and thereby part of the law. It identifies the position of the Judge Advocate General and provides for the qualifications, appointment, removal, term of office, rank, responsibilities, and key duties of the Judge Advocate General. The officers serving in the Legal Branch of the Canadian Forces are lawyers under the command of the Judge Advocate General.

The National Defence Act provides as follows:

Section 9

9 (1) The Governor in Council may appoint an officer who is a barrister or advocate with at least ten years standing at the bar of a province to be the Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Forces.

(2) The Judge Advocate General holds office during pleasure for a term not exceeding four years.

(3) The Judge Advocate General is eligible to be re-appointed on the expiry of a first or subsequent term of office.

 

Section 9.1

9.1 The Judge Advocate General acts as legal adviser to the Governor General, the Minister, the Department and the Canadian Forces in matters relating to military law.

 

Section 9.2

9.2 (1) The Judge Advocate General has the superintendence of the administration of military justice in the Canadian Forces.

(2) The Judge Advocate General shall conduct, or cause to be conducted, regular reviews of the administration of military justice.

 

Section 9.3

9.3 (1) The Judge Advocate General is responsible to the Minister in the performance of the Judge Advocate General’s duties and functions.

(2) The Judge Advocate General shall report annually to the Minister on the administration of military justice in the Canadian Forces.

(3) The minister shall have a copy of the report laid before each House of Parliament on any of the first fifteen days on which that House is sitting after the Minister receives it.

 

Section 9.4

9.4 The Judge Advocate General holds a rank that is not less than brigadier-general.

 

 

Five-Year Review of the NDA

Parliament has determined that an independent review of the provisions of Bill C-25 (the Bill that brought about the 1999 amendments to the NDA) should be made every 5 years. This will help ensure that the NDA continues to reflect Canadian values and legal standards while preserving the CF's ability to fulfill its essential military missions.

Accordingly, the provisions in Bill C-25:

  • require the Minister of National Defence (MND) to cause an independent review to be carried out every five years; and
  • provide for a report of the review to be tabled in Parliament.