Reference re Supreme Court Act

2014 SCC 21

This case began with the appointment by the federal government of Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court of Canada in October 2013. At the time of his appointment, Justice Nadon was a judge on the Federal Court of Appeal and had previously been a member of the Quebec Bar. The appointment was challenged on the grounds that Justice Nadon was ineligible to hold one of the three Quebec seats on the Supreme Court of Canada, as he was neither a member of one of Quebec’s superior courts nor a current member of the Bar of Quebec. The federal government responded to the challenge by amending the Supreme Court Act to state that the requirement for a member of the Quebec Bar also included former members of the Quebec Bar, and then referred the issue as a reference to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that s.6 of the Supreme Court Act requires that an appointee to one of the Quebec seats on the court be a current member of the Quebec Bar or of one of its superior courts. Regarding the reference question on the amendment to the Supreme Court Act, the majority found that the Supreme Court had been constitutionally entrenched by the Constitution Act, 1982 and that its composition could only be amended through a unanimous constitutional amendment. Justice Nadon was therefore ineligible for a Quebec seat at the Supreme Court of Canada.

SCC Reasons for Judgment


Date Document
2013/11/25 Appellant – Attorney General of Canada
2013/12/19 Intervener – Attorney General of Quebec
2014/01/03 Intervener – Constitutional Rights Centre Inc.
2014/01/02 Intervener – Rocco Galati
2014/01/03 Intervener – Attorney General of Ontario
2013/12/30 Interveners – Robert Decary, Alice Desjardins and Gilles Letourneau
2013/12/30 Intervener – Canadian Association of Provincial Court Judges