The Honourable Simon Ruel was a judge of the Superior Court of Quebec from 2014 to 2017, hearing matters in all areas of the law, including criminal law, family law, constitutional law, Aboriginal law, administrative law, civil law and commercial law.
As a lawyer, Justice Ruel practised mainly in public and administrative law and in government affairs. He was a member of the Quebec Bar (1995) and of the Law Society of Upper Canada (2007). After beginning his career with the firm Grey Casgrain in Montreal, he subsequently became a litigator and counsel to the federal Department of Justice, the Privy Council Office, and the Department of Finance in Montreal and Ottawa. Before his appointment to the Superior Court, he was a partner with the firm BCF Business Law in Quebec City and, prior to that, with the national firm Heenan Blaikie.
Justice Ruel participated as counsel in numerous federal and provincial public inquiries and investigations. These included the federal Commission of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program and Advertising Activities, the Cornwall Public Inquiry, and the Commission of Inquiry on the Process for Appointing Judges presided by the Honourable Michel Bastarache. He participated in the coroner’s inquest into deaths caused by Legionnaires’ disease in Quebec City in 2012 and represented the Manitoba Commission of Inquiry into the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Phoenix Sinclair. He also advised the Canadian Judicial Council on reforms to the judicial disciplinary process and subsequently served as a member of the Council’s Independence Committee, the latter being tasked with revising the Ethical Principles for Judges, which were updated in 2021.
In addition to practising law, Justice Ruel taught public and administrative law at the Quebec Bar School and lectured on civil and commercial evidence at the University of Ottawa. He has authored or co-authored numerous legal publications, articles, and commentaries on public and administrative law and on inquiries. He has participated as a speaker, host, or moderator in a number of legal events on topics covering judicial ethics, public and administrative law, public inquiries and investigations, criminal and penal law, the use of technology in the justice system, and judgment writing. Justice Ruel has served as chair of the Quebec Judicial Committee on Information Security (“COMSI”) and chair of the Judges Section of the Canadian Bar Association. He is currently a puisne member of the Judicial Independence Committee of the Canadian Judicial Council and co-chair of the Council’s social media subcommittee.
Justice Ruel was appointed to the Court of Appeal on June 21, 2017.