The Incidental Allowance

ss. 27(1) of the Judges Act

Preamble

The relevant provisions provide as follows:

On and after April 1, 2000, every judge in receipt of a salary under this Act is entitled to be paid, up to a maximum of $5,000 for each year, for reasonable incidental expenditures that the fit and proper execution of the office of judge may require, to the extent that the judge has actually incurred the expenditures and is not entitled to be reimbursed for them under any other provision of this Act.

In essence, the incidental allowance is meant to reimburse judges for expenses they incur because of their functions as judges. By law, expenses under this section must be reasonable, incurred by the judge only, incidental to the fit and proper execution of the judicial position and up to a maximum of $5,000 per judge. The Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada issues Guidelines on the Incidental Allowance.

Classes of Incidental Expenses Reimbursed - ss. 90.06(c)

Electronic equipment and office supplies

Purchase and repair of a computer, printer, scanner, shredder, laptop, mobile phone, tablet and mobile phone accessories, as well as software and office supplies

Telecommunications

Monthly mobile phone fees and home Internet fees for research and writing

Memberships and legal publications

Membership fees paid to law and judicial related professional associations, the purchase of books, periodicals and online subscriptions for the purpose of legal research and writing

Court attire for Court hearings

Purchase of specialized court attire as required for Court hearings (i.e. judicial robes, waistcoats, jackets, wing collar shirts and blouses, black or grey trousers and skirts, tabs and studs) and the cost for repair and dry cleaning of specialized Court attire

Judicial education and judicial outreach functions

Costs for participation in judicial and legal conferences or seminars otherwise not reimbursed under the Conference allowance, including registration, transportation, accommodation and meals paid in accordance with the Guidelines on the Conference Allowance, costs related to judicial outreach or public education, including expenses related to attendance at swearing-in of new judges and swearing-out of retiring judges ceremonies, judging a moot court or other similar types of functions paid in accordance with the Guidelines on the Travel Allowance

Other reasonable expenses

Includes home security systems - purchase and monitoring; briefcases and luggage; eyeglasses and hearing aids otherwise not covered by insurance; framing of official documents or photographs; passport/visa photos

Guidelines on the Incidental Allowance - ss. 90.06(e)

(Subsection 27(1) of the Judges Act)

Introduction

The purpose of these Guidelines is to provide guidance and clarification to judges who claim reimbursements under subsection 27(1) of the Judges Act for reasonable incidental expenses that their office may require. These Guidelines cannot provide for every circumstance and judges should contact the Registrar in advance if they are uncertain as to whether an expense may be claimed.

Subsection 27(1) of the Act

This subsection provides as follows:

Allowance for incidental expenditures actually incurred

27 (1) On and after April 1, 2000, every judge in receipt of a salary under this Act is entitled to be paid, up to a maximum of $5,000 for each year, for reasonable incidental expenditures that the fit and proper execution of the office of judge may require, to the extent that the judge has actually incurred the expenditures and is not entitled to be reimbursed for them under any other provision of this Act.

In essence, the incidental allowance is meant to reimburse judges for expenses they incur because of their functions as judges. By law, expenses reimbursed under this section must be:

  • reasonable;
  • incurred by the judge only (expenses paid on behalf of others may not be claimed);
  • incidental to the fit and proper execution of the judicial position;
  • up to a maximum of $5,000.00 per judge per fiscal year (1st April to 31 March).

The allowance is not cumulative and, in addition, unexpended portions lapse and cannot be carried forward. However, expenses which exceed the allowance’s yearly maximum of $5,000.00 may be claimed in the subsequent fiscal year. No hospitality is reimbursed.

General principles

The Registrar administers allowances provided to judges under the Judges Act and audits every claim. Reimbursements made under the incidental allowance must adhere to the following principles:

  • value for money;
  • accountability;
  • transparency; and
  • respect for judicial independence.

Classes or categories of reimbursable expenses

Electronic equipment and office supplies

The purchase and repair of a computer, printer, scanner, shredder, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, and mobile phone accessories may be claimed.

The purchase of software and office supplies may also be claimed.

Telecommunications

Monthly costs for cell phone usage and Internet fees required for research and writing judgments at home may be claimed under this allowance.

Memberships and Legal publications

Membership fees paid to law and judicial related professional associations, such as the Canadian Bar Association, the International Women Judges Association and other similar organizations, may be claimed.

The purchase of books, periodicals and online subscriptions to publications for the purpose of legal research and writing may also be claimed.

Court attire for Court hearings

The cost of specialized court attire as required for Court hearings (i.e. judicial robes, waistcoat, wing collar shirts or blouses, black or grey trousers or skirts, tabs, and studs) may be claimed. The repair and dry-cleaning of specialized court attire may be claimed.

Judicial education and judicial outreach functions

The costs of attending judicial and legal conferences or seminars, and of obtaining judicial education materials, may be claimed under the incidental allowance if they are not otherwise reimbursed under section 41 of the Judges Act. In such instances, expenses shall be paid in accordance with the Guidelines on the Conference Allowance.

The costs related to judicial outreach or public education, such as speaking at a school or university, attending meetings of the Bar, attending judicial ceremonies such as a swearing-in or swearing-out of judges, judging a moot court, or other similar types of functions may also be claimed from this allowance. In such cases, expenses shall be paid in accordance with the Guidelines on the Travel Allowance.

Other reasonable incidental expenses

Additional expenses that may be claimed include: the purchase, installation and monitoring fees of home security systems; the reasonable costs of briefcases and suitcases because of judges’ travel requirements to attend various functions; framing of official documents or photographs; hearing aids and eyeglasses if not covered under the insurance plan; costs of passport/visa photos for diplomatic passports (for judge and spouse/partner).

Receipts

All expenses claimed must be supported by an original, detailed receipt for each transaction (a credit card slip is not sufficient if it does not set out the details of the purchase/payment). In exceptional cases where a detailed receipt is lost or otherwise unavailable, a credit card payment slip or the monthly credit card statement (or a copy of a cheque, if paid by cheque) is acceptable.

July 1 to September 30, 2020 Expenses

Total amount of incidental expenditures reimbursed
ss. 90.06 (a)
Number of judges reimbursed
ss. 90.06 (b)
Number of judges who received a reimbursement for each class of incidental expenses
ss. 90.06 (d)
Electronic equipment and office supplies Telecommunications Memberships and legal publications Court attire Judicial education and judicial outreach functions Other reasonable expenses
$4,041.27 5 3 3 2 3 0 3

Expenses published for one quarter are those reimbursed in that quarter. Some of the published expenses may have been incurred in a previous quarter.