The story of a Superior Court judge overruling a Justice of the Peace on the issuance of a search warrant is interesting but hardly shows Justices of the Peace, as a group, are lacking suitable legal training. Every day the Court of Appeal for
hears up to a dozen appeals from judges, all of whom have law degrees and stand
at the top of their profession; no one questions their eminent
qualifications. What’s more, in the particular case where the Justice of
the Peace granted the disputed warrant it seems 40 kilograms of methamphetamine
were found in two homes in York Region – as a factual matter there was a basis
for the search. Ontario
While Justices of the Peace do not have to have legal training many do and, regardless, all new appointments undergo a rigorous training cycle. After initial training justices of the peace have a continuing legal education process. Having been involved with the ongoing legal education of justices of the peace, I can attest to their professionalism and dedication to knowing the law they apply. This legal background is needed because they perform significant and complex duties.
Perhaps the Crown appeal in the specific case in the story will fail and the drugs seized will be excluded. But that has not been decided yet and regardless as a group Justices of the Peace are well and properly trained.