Supreme Court


Setting of rates for amici curiae by courts did not respect institutional roles

Trial judges appointing amici curiae in four criminal proceedings and amici refusing legal aid rates offered by Attorney General . Court setting higher rates of remuneration than offered by Attorney General. Court of appeal dismissing Attorney General’s appeal. Court of appeal holding superior and statutory courts had jurisdiction to appoint amici to ensure serious cases could proceed without difficulty. Court of appeal holding ability to fix rates of compensation for amici linked to capacity to appoint them and should not be left to Attorney General. Attorney General’s appeal to Supreme Court of Canada allowed. Courts of inherent jurisdiction had power to appoint amici exceptionally where necessary for just adjudicate of proceeding. Inherent jurisdiction of superior courts permitted them to make orders necessary for protection of judicial process and rule of law and fulfill judicial function of administering justice. Jurisdiction to appoint did not necessarily imply authority to set rate of compensation. Absent authority flowing from constitutional challenge or statutory provision setting for rates by courts did not respect institutional roles and capacities of legislature, executive and judiciary. Order that Attorney General must provide compensation at particular rate order directing payment of specific money out of public funds. Attorney General and amici appointed should meet to set rates and modes of payment. If matter cannot be resolved judge’s only recourse may be to impose stay until amicus could be found.

R. v. Imona-Russell (Aug. 1, 2013, S.C.C., McLachlin C.J.C., LeBel J., Fish J., Abella J., Rothstein J., Cromwell J., Moldaver J., Karakatsanis J., and Wagner J., File No. 34317) 108 W.C.B. (2d) 211.

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