Organizational Structure and Governance

Role of the Chief Administrator

The Chief Administrator of CAS is the Chief Executive Officer of the organization and is accountable to Parliament through the Minister of Justice.

Subsections 7(2) and 7(3) of the Courts Administration Service Act specify that the Chief Administrator has all the powers necessary for:

  • providing effective and efficient management and administration of court services, including court facilities, libraries, corporate services and staffing; and
  • structuring registry operations and preparing budgets, in consultation with the Chief Justices of the four courts, for the requirements of those courts and the related needs of CAS.

Section 8 of the Act provides that the Chief Justices are responsible for the judicial functions of their courts; this includes the power to determine the sittings of the court, assign judges to sittings, determine the sitting schedules and places of sittings for judges and determine the total annual, monthly and weekly workload of judges. Moreover, officers, clerks and employees of CAS act at the direction of the respective Chief Justices in matters that are assigned by law to the judiciary.

Subsections 7(4) and 9(1) of the Act place two specific restrictions on the powers of the Chief Administrator:

  • the powers of the Chief Administrator do not extend to any matter assigned by law to the judiciary; and
  • a Chief Justice may issue binding directions in writing to the Chief Administrator with respect to any matter within the Chief Administrator’s authority.

These sections were designed to ensure the institutional independence of the four federal courts from the other branches of the government, the executive and the legislative, while providing appropriate accountability for the funding provided by Parliament for the operation of the courts.