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5 Steps to Become a Judge In Canada

You will agree that being appointed as a judge is one of the most prestigious positions you could ever occupy! In Canada, It is no easy feat to become a judge. While you won’t have to campaign and win an election as you would for many judicial positions, you will have to persuade a committee to consider your nomination.

Regardless of your court level, you must be a lawyer and must have been practising for at least five years, (though almost all lawyers appointed have had at least ten years of experience). So, depending on the court level, you can be appointed either nationally or provincially.

On the other hand, as a Judge, your position is very critical. In addition to being a highly respected job, judges are saddled with the task of delivering justice and fairness to the public. Moreover, judges are on the list of in-demand occupations in Canada with NOC code  4111. So, if you want to become a judge, you’ll need a lot of schooling and experience to gain the prerequisite skills, knowledge, and talents.

Thus, this article highlights all the necessary steps you need to take to become a judge in Canada. Hang on, let’s get you started.

Who is a judge?

Before we proceed, it is pertinent to answer the question, who is a judge? A judge is a person who, either alone or as part of a panel of judges, presides over court proceedings. He/she hears all of the witnesses and any other evidence provided by the case’s barristers or solicitors, evaluates the parties’ credibility and arguments, and then renders a decision based on their interpretation of the law and personal judgment.

A judge is supposed to handle trials in an open and fair manner. Overall, judges decide civil and criminal matters and administer justice.

What is the responsibility of a judge?

Judges perform a lot of duties which are listed in their duties. Basically, they preside over courts of law, interpret and execute procedural norms, and make evidence applicability decisions.

They also instruct the jury on the appropriate legislation in the case as well as weigh and examine evidence to determine legal guilt or innocence, while examining the degree of liability of the accused or defendant

In criminal situations, judges punish those who have been found guilty, and in civil cases, they assess damages or other appropriate fines as well as grant divorces and divide assets between spouses. In most cases, they determine child custody between disputing parents and other guardians while ensuring that court orders for access or support are duly followed.

Why should you become a judge in Canada?

There are many reasons why you should strive to become a judge in Canada . In terms of job prospect, you are more likely to be employed as a full-time worker than a part-time worker, plus there is job security for judges, unlike other professions. Also, judges have a high standard of living coupled with decent work-life balance.

When it comes to salary, Judges with NOC 4111 usually earn a whopping $254,518.00 – $376,016.70 per hour in Canada.

Is being a judge for everyone?

Although a great career, being a judge is definitely not for everyone. If you have contentment issues, you shouldn’t consider becoming a judge. Chances are you are going to collect bribes and pervert judgment. In most cases, people’s life and seemingly destiny depends on you, so you need to have empathy and self-discipline.

Again, if you’re a drug or alcohol addict, the judge’s career is not for you. Your past or current disciplinary actions or cases against a convict might also disqualify you from becoming a judge. Also, past, current civil or criminal issues involving you and a convict as well as financial problems such as bankruptcy, tax, or child support arrears, might render you unfit for the position of a judge. So, before you want to become a judge in Canada, assess yourself to determine your eligibility.

What are the steps to becoming a Judge in Canada?

Follow the steps below to become a judge In Canada:

#1. Get a bachelor’s degree

The first step to take to become a judge is to earn a Bachelor’s degree in law(LLb).  You can study any subject you like because law schools don’t need applicants to have a specific type of bachelor’s degree. Subjects like criminal justice, political science, and philosophy can all help you prepare for law school.

However, It is critical that you maintain a high GPA regardless of the type of degree you take. This will distinguish you an edge from other candidates when you’re applying for law school.

We highly recommend that you maintain a positive relationship with your lecturers while in school so they can write letters of recommendation for you, which will help to boost your application.

#2. Apply to law school

You can apply to law school once you have completed your bachelor’s degree. Unless you’re applying to Quebec-based law schools that don’t require the LSAT, you can prepare to pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The Law School Admission Council administers the LSAT four to eight times a year, either online or at a testing centre, so you should register in advance. Also, the LSAT costs $200, and it’s critical that you study for it ahead of time.

In most cases, the LSAT assesses your reading, analytical, and logical skills through five multiple-choice portions and a writing section. Final scores range from 120 to 180, and if you wish to improve your score, you can retake the test. If you’ve had a good score, why, go ahead and apply for the law school of your choice.

Of course, you should ensure that you satisfy the standards of your chosen school before you apply. Thereafter, submit your application and wait for the result.

#3. Attend law school

If you are accepted into a law school, congratulations! Study hard so that in the next three years you can complete your Bachelor of Law or Juris Doctorate (JD). Prepare to pass general legal courses, such as criminal law or property law,  because they are mandatory. It will serve as a background for you to excel In your second and third years.

#4. Pass the bar exam and start practising law

After earning your law degree, the next stage is to pass the bar exam in order to practice law. You must complete a nine- to twelve-month bar admissions course and article to begin.

What is articling? It is a sort of internship in which you work under the supervision of a licensed lawyer to gain experience in the field and learn more about your profession. You can take the bar test once you’ve completed both articling and the bar courses as well as met all of your province’s or territory’s requirements.

Once you’re done, you can begin practising law. Of course, you must practice law for at least five years after becoming a lawyer before you can become a judge. Many times, a minimum of 10 years of experience as a lawyer is required for you to work in a superior provincial court or the Supreme Court.

#5. Become a Judge

After all said and done, you’re all set to become a judge in Canada. To begin, apply to the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs Canada to get a chance. While applying, ensure to fill out the Questionnaire, Authorization Form, and Background Check Consent Form pursuant which was updated in 2021.

The purpose of filling out the three forms is to provide enough details about you to the judicial advisory committee. With this, your past, education, and work experience will be assessed. The outcome of this will help them to decide whether or not to suggest you for a position and transmit your application to the decision-makers.

What licensing or professional certificate is required to become a judge?

More often than not, judges in Canada do not need to have some professional certificate or licensing to practice. However, you need to be a good standing member of a provincial or territorial law society or bar association.

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Frequently asked Questions

What education do you need to be a judge in Canada?

To start with, you need to complete a pre-law college, university program or a bachelor’s degree from a law school. Thereafter,  you can become a judge when you have extensive years of experience as a lawyer or law professor, in addition to being a current bar association member. Also, you need to be a provincial/territorial law society member or bar association member and in good standing.

What is a judge’s salary in Canada?

If there’s one profession that are so well paid, It is that of judges. As of April 2021, the average salary of a judge in Canada is a whopping $254,518.00 – $376,016.70 per year. Depending on the province and title, they can earn higher.

For instance, in the supreme court, the Chief Justice earns as much as $478,600, while the justice earns around $443,200. Some provinces also offer additional allowances to judges.

Is it easy to become a judge in Canada?

Becoming a judge in Canada or anywhere in the world is no mean feat. You need to have extensive years of experience as a lawyer for at least 5years. Moreover,  to work in a superior provincial court or Supreme Court, you need a minimum of 10 years of experience as a lawyer. Thus, making the judge’s office a highly competitive one.

How are judges chosen in Canada?

In Canada basically, Judges are appointed by the government rather than elected. The judges of the Provincial Court are appointed by the provincial administration while Supreme Court and Court of Appeal judges are appointed by the federal government. They work independently despite the fact that the government appoints them.


In summary, being a judge is one of the most prestigious positions you could ever occupy. Nevertheless, you need to study to show yourself approved. With a minimum of 5 years of experience as a lawyer, you can stand a chance to become a judge in Canada.

So, get all the training and skills that will make you stand out from the crowd, and get ready to begin your life-changing career.

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