The JSC Interviews
Twice a year, usually in April and October, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) convenes for a week to interview prospective candidates for judicial appointments to the Superior Courts.
The JSC interviews are open to the public and anyone may attend. Judges Matter live streams the JSC interviews to make them more accessible to the public.
The JSC Interviews will usually start with a meeting of the commission. This is a closed meeting and the public may not attend.
After the meeting of the commission the JSC will interview judicial candidates in line with the interview schedule. An interview is usually scheduled to be 40 minutes to an hour per candidate, but can be shorter or, more usually, longer than the prescribed time. It is not unusual for the interviews to run considerably longer than the schedule and some even continue well into the evening.
During the interviews the candidate is asked a series of questions by the JSC commissioners. The Chief Justice will start the questioning, then the Judge President of the court to which the candidate is seeking appointment will ask questions and the Premier of the province (or the Premier’s appointee), followed by the Minister of Justice.
Following this any member of the commission may ask the candidate questions. Although commissioners are advised to limit themselves to three questions per candidate, this is often not the case in practice. We at Judges Matter are actively examining the criteria that the JSC commissioners use in assessing candidates through their questions. Questioning is often uneven during the JSC interviews and candidates are not asked similar questions. The questions asked of candidates certainly do not always relate to criteria. In fact, many of them relate to judicial politics, the functioning of the courts, and the progress of the JSC itself in appointing a transformed judiciary. You can read our article on questions of criteria at the JSC interviews on our blog.
When the interviews for a court are concluded the JSC will deliberate on the candidates and vote for which candidates to recommend for appointment. These deliberations are closed to the public.
At the end of each day of interviews representatives of the JSC will address the media and announce which candidates have been nominated for judicial positions. The JSC then sends the nominations to the President for appointment. This is in line with section 174 (6) of the Constitution.
To find out more about the current JSC commissioners read our article: Who sits on the JSC panel?