With age comes wisdom? Toronto lawyer challenges federal court on age limit law for judges

A Toronto immigration lawyer has plunged the federal court system into chaos by challenging the jurisdiction of the deputy judge assigned to his case on the grounds that Canadian law does not allow judges to stay on the bench past the age of 75. The move left the federal court “scrambling … to adjourn and reassign cases scheduled to be heard” by the judge in question — Louis Tannenbaum, a retired judge, and one of seven deputies, only one of whom is under 75. Not surprisingly, it also sparked a spirited rebuke from the Canadian Association of Retired People, which opposes mandatory retirement at any age. “”You should judge people based on their competency,” CARP spokesperson Susan Eng – a lawyer herself – told the Star. “It’s legitimate to ask people to have cognitive ability when they are doing a job that requires absolute clarity. But you judge on the basis of the individual competency, not on some arbitrary age.” Another lawyer predicts that the enforcing the age limit has “the potential to cripple the court” which has “already been stretched to the limit in its ability to hear cases.” The motion against Tannenbaum will be heard on September 30th.

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