The Valente Case

The A judge of the Provincial Court of Ontario declared that he had no jurisdiction to hear a case under the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario because he did not preside over an independent court in the sense of s11(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The A judge of the Provincial Court of Ontario declared that he had no jurisdiction to hear a case under the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario because he did not preside over an independent court in the sense of s11(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In his view, the structures and administration of the court are such that there is not a sufficiently clear separation between the executive and the judiciary. On 19 Sept 1985, the Supreme Court ruled that the judge did enjoy judicial independence. Impartiality is a state of mind. Independence is a question of status vis-à-vis the executive. The test is the following: Can the court reasonably be seen as independent? There are 3 essential conditions for an independent judiciary in the sense of s11(d) of the Charter: judges have the security of tenure; judges enjoy financial security; and the court has institutional independence in administrative matters which directly affect the functioning of the judge. The Supreme Court declared that these 3 conditions were satisfied.