Update in the matter of a complaint against Chief Justice Michel Robert

OTTAWA, 3 August 2005 – The Canadian Judicial Council announced today the results of its review of a complaint against the Honourable Michel Robert, Chief Justice of Québec.  The complaint was made by Mr Richard Marceau, Member of Parliament for Charlesbourg / Haute St-Charles.

In accordance with the Complaints Procedures of Council, this complaint was referred to the Honourable John D. Richard, Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Appeal.  Chief Justice Richard reviewed the allegations made, considered the explanations given by Chief Justice Robert and examined the context in which the controversial remarks were made.  Upon completing his review, Chief Justice Richard determined that the file should be closed. 

In his letter to the complainant, Chief Justice Richard noted that Chief Justice Robert deeply regretted the controversy created by his remarks and accepted Chief Justice Robert’s explanations that the remarks made were incomplete and did not reflect his views regarding the process of appointment for judges in Canada.

Because the complaint was made against a member of the Council, an additional step was followed.  Under the Complaints Procedures, the proposed disposition of such a complaint must be reviewed by outside counsel.  This person is a member of the bar who is chosen on the basis of their reputation and experience.

In this case, the matter was referred to Mr Pierre-Marc Johnson of the law firm Heenan Blaikie.  Mr Johnson, upon a review of the complete file, indicated he was fully in agreement with the decision of Chief Justice Richard to close the file. 

Given the public interest in this matter, and the fact that the complaint itself was made public, the letter to the complainant, closing the file in this case, is made available on the Council’s website.  An overview of the complaints process and relevant provisions is also available on the Council’s website, http://www.cjc-ccm.gc.ca

Contact:

Norman Sabourin
Executive Director and General Counsel
613-288-1566, ext. 301