Canadian Judicial Council to appeal decision of the Federal Court in Douglas Matter

Ottawa, 25 April 2014 –The Canadian Judicial Council is appealing the recent decision of the Federal Court in the Douglas matter. The Council believes that some of the legal issues raised before the Court, including the question of the jurisdiction of the Federal Court to review decisions of Chief Justices acting under the provisions of the Judges Act, are of such public importance that they should be determined by a higher court.

The appeal raises other legal issues which are significant to the Council as an institution as they relate to how its investigations and inquiries are reviewed under the Judges Act. One such issue concerns the nature of the legal relationship formed between the Chair (or Vice-Chair) of the Judicial Conduct Committee and the former Independent Counsel, Guy Pratte. Mr Pratte was appointed in August 2011 to present the case before the previous Inquiry Committee in the Douglas matter, and resigned in August of 2012.

The public interest is to ensure a fair and expeditious resolution of the Douglas matter. To avoid any interference in the orderly completion of the present inquiry hearings, the Chair of the Judicial Conduct Committee of Council has decided to release the communications with Mr Pratte that relate to his resignation. These letters were provided in confidence to the Federal Court and are now available on Council's website. Although this issue is under appeal, the decision to release these communications is in keeping with the judgement of the Federal Court, which held that the Council's process was not tainted by institutional bias. A letter to the judge's lawyer in this matter, outlining Council's position, is also available on Council's website.

 

Contact:
Norman Sabourin
Executive Director and Senior General Counsel
(613) 288-1566 ext 302