Alberta faces shortage of provincial court justices, says minister

Alberta’s justice minister says the federal government will only appoint half of the recommended number of justices to the Court of Queen’s Bench this year.

Jonathan Denis says Alberta is short four justices in its provincial superior court, but the federal government agreed to budget for only two this year. Denis was one of the provincial justice ministers from across the country meeting with federal counterparts in Banff, Alta., on Friday and says Alberta actually needs many more than the recommended four just to keep up with population growth.

“Even if we get the full component of four more justices, if you look [at] B.C., [which] has roughly the same population as Alberta, we would need at least 13 more justices just to be even,” Denis said.

While at the meeting, Denis says he spoke with Saskatchewan’s justice minister who indicated that the province has too many justices.

They’re now floating the idea of transferring positions from Saskatchewan to Alberta, if the federal government won’t pay for more in Alberta.

Denis says Alberta would pick up the costs of support staff and operational expenses if the transfer of positions goes through.

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