On March 31, 2017, the Canadian Bar Association [CBA] released its assessment of the comprehensive review of the military penal justice system being conducted by the Judge-Advocate General (JAG).The CBA submission was prepared by its Military Law Section, with assistance from the Legislation and Law Reform Directorate, and was approved as a public statement of the CBA Military Law Section.
The highlights of the CBA Assessment of the JAG court martial review are:
1. The fundamental questions underpinning discussions of military discipline and military justice must be debated in an open and public forum.
2. A joint Parliamentary committee would possess the necessary resources and competence to review these issues fully and share any findings with the Canadian public.
3. The goal should ultimately be legislation that ensures Canada’s military justice system both supports the discipline, efficiency and morale needs of the military.
The CBA has concluded that a thorough review must be conducted in public by a Parliamentary body, with sufficient time for thoughtful and objective analysis – not the office of the JAG. This would ensure better and more transparent consideration of how any reforms would be implemented.