Chief Military Judge (CMJ)

Office of the Chief Military Judge

The Office of the Chief Military Judge is an independent unit of the Canadian Forces established in 1997. Its personnel include military judges, the Court Martial Administrator and the Deputy Court Martial Administrator, military and civilian court reporters and technical, financial, human resource and administrative support.

Military judges adjudicate at courts martial and other military proceedings such as the judicial review of persons held in pre-trial custody. The Court Martial Administrator convenes courts martial, selects panel members for courts martial, issues summonses to witnesses, and manages the Office. This is done with the assistance of the Deputy Court Martial Administrator and the support staff. The court reporters provide administrative services at courts martial and produce a record of proceedings of every court martial.

The requirement for military judges to be independent of the military chain of command was set out by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1992 in its decision in R. v. Genereux. The necessary judicial hallmarks of security of tenure, financial and institutional independence for military judges are guaranteed in the National Defence Act.

Military judges are appointed by the Governor in Council. Military judges are only removable by the Governor in Council upon the recommendation of an independent Inquiry Committee.

Military judge’s compensation is established after considering the recommendations of an independent Compensation Committee.

The Chief Military Judge is the Commanding Officer of the unit and also has the powers of an Officer Commanding a Command. The Office of the Chief Military Judge has its own budget and the authority to expend funds on its operations, training and capital acquisitions.

Courts martial may be held anywhere in the world. A permanent electronic courtroom facility is located in the National Capital Region (Gatineau).