Judges - What They Do

Judges adjudicate civil and criminal cases and administer justice in courts of law. Judges preside over federal and provincial courts.

Job duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:

  • Preside over courts of law, interpret and enforce rules of procedure and make rulings regarding the admissibility of evidence
  • Instruct the jury on laws that are applicable to the case
  • Weigh and consider evidence in non-jury trials and decide legal guilt or innocence or degree of liability of the accused or defendant
  • Pass sentence on persons convicted in criminal cases and determine damages or other appropriate remedy in civil cases
  • Grant divorces and divide assets between spouses
  • Determine custody of children between contesting parents and other guardians
  • Enforce court orders for access or support
  • Supervise other judges and court officers.
  • Judges may specialize in particular areas of law such as civil, criminal or family law.

Job titles

  • chief justice
  • county court judge
  • Court of Queen's Bench justice
  • district court judge
  • family court judge
  • federal trial court justice
  • provincial court of appeal justice
  • small claims court judge
  • superior court justice
  • Supreme Court justice
Employment Requirements

This is what you typically need for the job:

  • Extensive experience as a lawyer or as a professor of law with continuous membership in the bar association is usually required.
  • Membership in good standing with a provincial or territorial law society or bar association is required.
  • Judges are appointed by federal or provincial cabinets.
  • Those appointed to more senior positions in a court, such as chief justice, usually have experience as judges in that court.

Essential Skills

Service and Care

  • Protecting and Enforcing


  • Evaluating
  • Supervising


  • Projecting Outcomes
  • Analyzing Information
  • Researching and Investigating


  • Liaising and Networking
  • Interviewing
  • Professional Communicating
  • Advising and Consulting
  • Negotiating and Adjudicating

Information Handling

  • Processing Information