The principle of judicial independence requires that the courts maintain authority over administrative matters that directly impact their judicial function. Under the Courts of Justice Act, the Chief Justice directs and supervises the sittings of the Superior Court and the assignment of judicial duties. The Act permits the Chief Justice to delegate this authority to eight Regional Senior Judges so they may exercise this power in their respective regions. Similarly, the Regional Senior Judges may designate Local Administrative Judges to assign and schedule cases at certain court sites.
In addition, the Chief Justice develops policy for the Superior Court on the advice of the Executive of the Court, which includes the Associate Chief Justice, eight Regional Senior Judges, and the Senior Judge of the Family Court. The Executive of the Court advises the Chief Justice on policy and governance issues affecting the Court’s administration.
Aside from the matters assigned to the judiciary by law, the administration of justice in Ontario falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Attorney General. In May 2008, the Chief Justice and the Attorney General entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote clarity, consistency, and accountability in the administration of the courts, and to support the principle of judicial independence. The MOU clearly delineates the core functions and responsibilities for each of the judiciary and the Ministry of the Attorney General, and provides the framework within which the Attorney General and Chief Justice work collaboratively to address areas of mutual concern.
For general information on issues relating to the administration of justice such as court forms and procedures, court hours, and court filing matters, please consult the Ministry of Attorney General website.