Judges are appointed by the provincial government via the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee.
Have been lawyers for at least 10 years.
Judges of the Court deal with a wide range of family law cases (including child protection, custody, access, support and adoption) as well as approximately 95% of the criminal charges laid within the province.
Hear criminal, youth and family trials, and sometimes provincial offences matters, without a jury. The judge is responsible for both the weighing of the evidence and the final decision.
In criminal cases, it is up to the judge to decide if the defendant is not guilty or guilty. If a defendant is convicted in a criminal case, the judge imposes sentence.
In family court, the judge hears family and child protection disputes.
Justices of the Peace
Justices of the peace are appointed by the provincial government via the Justices of the Peace Appointments Advisory Committee.
Do not have to be lawyers
Generally have 10 years of paid or volunteer work experience and a university degree or college diploma. For specifics, please see the Justices of the Peace Act.
A justice of the peace is often the first and sometimes the only judicial officer that a member of the public will ever meet in connection with, for example, a parking ticket, a Highway Traffic Act offence, charges alleging a violation of a by-law such as a smoking by-law or a liquor licence by-law, or a trespassing charge.
Justices of the peace of the Court have jurisdiction with respect to provincial offences, bail hearings and search warrants. Their responsibilities also include, but are not limited to, presiding in criminal set-date court and hearing s. 810 Criminal Code applications.
If one is charged with a criminal offence, that individual may meet a justice of the peace in bail court and in most court appearances prior to the trial.
Justices of the peace also conduct hearings under the Mental Health Act.
What does the colour of the sash indicate?
- Judges wear red sashes
- Justices of the peace wear green
The Judicial Sash
All judges in Ontario courts wear red sashes over their robes. Judges of the
Ontario Superior Court wear the sash over their right shoulder, with the ends
attached on the left side, while judges of the Ontario Court of Justice wear their
sash over their left shoulder with the ends attached on the right side.
The Superior Court judges also wear a badge on their sash. the badge features a gold sun with a Royal Crown. On the sun is a maple leaf with a gold Scales of Justice.
Ontario’s justices of the peace also wear sashes, but they are dark green. They wear their sashes over the left shoulder, with the ends attached on the right side.
The sashes that Ontario’s judges wear are remnants of the English legal system, as are other parts of judges’ and lawyers’ dress. While judges’ black gowns only go back to 1685 (before that counsel and judges wore coloured gowns) the red sash can be traced back to well before 1635.
In Ontario, the colour of sash that judges wear over the shoulder of their black robes denotes the type of court over which they preside:
- Green for Justices of the Peace
- Scarlet for Provincial Court Judges
- Burgundy for Justices of the Ontario Superior Court and Court of Appeal
- Gold for Federal Court Justices
- Purple for a Tax Court judge
- Fur-Lined, Red-Robes for Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada