Values and Ethics Code of the Department of Justice

The Department of Justice

A Unique Role

The Department of Justice (the Department) works to ensure that Canada's justice system is as fair, accessible and efficient as possible. It helps the federal government to develop policy, as well as to draft and reform laws as needed. It acts as legal advisor to the Government of Canada by providing legal advice and support, prosecuting civil cases of federal law on behalf of the government, and representing the government in court.

The Department's responsibilities reflect the dual role of the Minister of Justice, who is also, by law, the Attorney General of Canada. In general terms, the Minister is concerned with the administration of justice, including policy in such areas as criminal law, family law, human rights law and Aboriginal justice; as Attorney General, the Minister is the chief law officer of the Crown, and is responsible for the conduct of all litigation for the federal government.

A Diverse Community

The Department's support for this dual role of Minister and Attorney General of Canada is reflected in the makeup of our personnel, a team of professionals who work closely with federal government departments and agencies, in regional offices and Headquarters. This team includes a large number of counsel whose roles vary according to their responsibilities: to draft bills to be tabled in Parliament, whether these originate with the Department of Justice or with another department; to help ministries of state in developing, reforming and interpreting laws and regulations; to support departments and other federal bodies in developing policies and programs of the Government of Canada; to develop options based on the law; to help mitigate and manage legal risks posed by policies and programs; and to defend the decisions of public authorities before courts, tribunals and international bodies.

Counsel in the Department work in tandem with a large number of employees with varied skills in other professional groups, and their contributions are vital to the efficient implementation of the mandate of the Department.