Canadian Judicial Council comments on the complaints filed with the Council against Chief Justice Michel Robert

OTTAWA, 6 June 2005 – The head of the Canadian Judicial Council committee charged with looking into complaints against federally appointed judges, the Honourable Richard Scott, Chief Justice of Manitoba, confirmed today that complaints have been filed with the Council against Chief Justice Michel Robert by Richard Marceau and Gérard Asselin, members of Parliament for the Bloc Québecois. He also confirmed that the complaints are now being considered by the Council in accordance with the Council’s process for dealing with complaints.

Under Canada’s constitution, only Parliament has the power to remove a judge from office. The Council may make a recommendation to Parliament, where warranted, that a judge be removed from office for reasons of age or infirmity, misconduct, having failed in the due execution of judicial office, or having been placed, by his or her conduct or otherwise, in a position incompatible with the due execution of that office.

Since Chief Justice Robert is a member of Council, there are additional steps followed. In accordance with Council procedures, any complaint received against a Council member must be reviewed separately by independent counsel if it is decided to close the file. The matter may also be referred to a panel consisting of three to five judges. When a panel determines that the matter may be serious enough to warrant removal from the bench, a recommendation can be made to refer the complaint to an inquiry committee, which is normally held in public. Said Chief Justice Scott: "I am confident that the complaints process will protect the public interest in ensuring that Canadians continue to be served by a competent, independent and impartial judiciary."

An overview of the complaints process and the relevant sections of the Judges Act can be found at the Council’s web site http://www.cjc-ccm.gc.ca

Contact: Norman Sabourin, Executive Director and General Counsel, 613-288-1566.