The Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice is a voluntary, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of justice for all Canadians. Since its inception in 1974, the CIAJ has kept a critical eye on our justice system and explored cutting-edge issues likely to improve the administration of justice and preserve a strong and independent judiciary. CIAJ is a place of meeting and reasoned debate on issues of interest to people and organizations concerned with the administration of justice.
Ciaj was created in 1974 at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in Toronto by then Associate Dean Stephen Borins and Dean Harry Arthurs with the help of a $225,000 grant from the Donner Foundation. Then Professors Allen M. Linden and Sidney J. Lederman became respectively first Director and Associate Director of CIAJ*. Independent, but university-housed, the non-profit corporation would function as the educational, planning and research arm of the courts and administrative tribunals throughout Canada. Interdisciplinary in scope, under the patronage of distinguished members of the judiciary, the legal profession, governments and members of the public however free from political constraints, it would be able to undertake and to promote projects upon consideration of their respective intrinsic merits. In response to then Dean Frank D. Jones' invitation, CIAJ's offices moved to the Faculty of Law of the University of Alberta in Edmonton in 1978 and remained there until 1986. Then, in response to a generous initiative by the Faculty of Law of the University of Montreal, CIAJ moved its offices to this university where it is still housed.
1999 marked CIAJ’s twenty-fifth anniversary. The Board of Directors took the opportunity of this milestone to revise and update CIAJ’s mandate and by-laws. The administration of justice is viewed as a public service. Strategically placed to identify emerging needs, and to promote research and educational endeavours likely to improve the administration of justice, the CIAJ takes a multi-disciplinary approach in identifying and addressing leading-edge issues.
The proposed objects in the Letters Patent read as follows:
Generally, to develop and conduct directly or by co-operation or consultation with others, programs of research with regard to the administration of justice in Canada;
To be an umbrella organization which brings together, and encourages exchanges among, individuals and groups concerned with administration of justice issues;
In general, to acquire and assist in the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge with regard to the administration of justice in Canada;
In general, to provide for the development and management of programs to assist in training members of the judiciary and administrative agencies, as well as all those who are involved in any way in the administration of justice;
To administer and exercise any powers, duties or functions incidental or conducive to the attainment of the objects of the Corporation including these which may be conferred on the Corporation by Acts of the Parliament of Canada or by the Acts of the several provincial legislatures.
* see excerpt from D.C. McDonald, "The Role of the Canadian Institute for the administration of Justice in the Development of Judicial Education in Canada" in W. Kaplan & D. McRae, eds., Law, Policy and International Justice, Essays in Honour of Maxwell Cohen (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1992) at 455-480.