Canada. Office of the Judge Advocate General

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Canada. Office of the Judge Advocate General

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The establishment of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Army) was authorized by the Canadian Expeditionary Force Routine Order No. 327 in 1911. It consisted of the Judge Advocate General, the President of the Pensions and Claims Board, an Executive Officer, a Secretary and a Chief Clerk. In 1917, following the passing of the National Defence Act, the Office of the Judge Advocate General became part of the Department of National Defence. Its terms of reference were to supervise and control the administration of Naval, Army and Air Force Law, to advise on all matters leading up to the convening of Courts Martial and the review of proceedings, to deal with the recording of proceedings of Courts Martial and their final disposition, to assist the Minister in the formulation of any advice it may be necessary to give the Governor in Council with regard to the proceedings of General Courts Martial, to advise on and perform certain duties in relation to matters of a legal nature within the Department of National Defence and to revise and amend the Naval, Military and Air Force Law and regulations, when and as required to do so. The Judge Advocate General was also legal advisor to the Defence Research Board following its creation in 1947. The JAG reported to the Deputy Minister and had three Deputies, one Naval, one Army and one Air Force officer. In the 1950s, the office of the JAG was divided by the following functional aspects: international and general, legislation, special projects, claims, pensions, real property, patents and inventions, courts martial, and estates and administration. Representatives of the JAG in the field could be legal officers of any of the three Services and served all three Services in the area to which they are assigned. The Assistant Judge Advocates General in the field were effectively legal advisers of the local Flag Officers, General Officers Commanding or Air Officers Commanding in their respective areas. In addition to the Assistant Judge Advocates General for regions within Canada (Pacific, Prairie, Central, Eastern and Atlantic), there existed a Senior Legal Advisor Europe (SLEA). In 1958, eight naval, 38 army and 35 air force legal officers were employed on the staff of the JAG and staffs of service headquarters and commands. In the early-1960s, there were 46 positions for lawyers on the establishment of the JAG's office and 23 legal positions on service establishments. Until 1998 or 1999, the JAG's functions remained essentially unchanged. However, at that time, the function of Department of National Defence (DND) and Canadian Forces (CF) Legal Advisor (LA) was created. The DND/CF LA is a unit of the Department of Justice that provides legal advice to the Department and Forces on matters other than military law and the military justice system, in accordance with the Department of Justice Act. The JAG remains responsible for matters involving military legal components.


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