Judicial Immunity

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General Principles

The principle of judicial immunity protects judges from testifying to observations made during any proceedings they are administering. This principle derives from the principle of judicial independence which protects judges from certain consequences when making decisions.[1]

This typically means that a judge cannot be compelled to testify regarding "events experienced in the course of their judicial duties" or "matters encountered in the course of exercising a judicial function".[2] However, some suggestion is that this also means they are not competent to testify either.[3]

Where the evidence would concern events from prior to the judge's appointment then they will be compellable.[4]

Judicial immunity will cover chamber discussions in front of the preliminary inquiry judge.[5]

  1. R v Beauregard, 1986 CanLII 24 (SCC)
    R v Parente, 2009 CanLII 18685 (ON SC) at para 7
  2. Parente, ibid. at para 6, 12
    Ermina v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 1998 CanLII 8969 (FC) at paras 5 - 11 citing MacKeigan v Hickman (1988), 43 CCC (3d) 287 (N.S.T.D.) R v Beauregard, supra at p. 69
  3. Parente, supra at para 10
  4. e.g. R v Wolf, 2007 ONCA 327 (CanLII) at para 10
  5. Parente, supra at para 16

See Also