Canadian Judicial Council proposes reforms to the Judicial Discipline process

Ottawa, 5 October 2016 –The Canadian Judicial Council has issued a Position Paper that makes recommendations for amending the Judges Act to further improve the judicial discipline process for federally-appointed judges. These recommendations build on changes adopted by the Council last year to improve efficiencies in the early screening process, while awaiting changes to the Judges Act. The goal is to ensure a modernized process in line with the public’s changing expectations of transparency and efficiency.

The Position Paper sets out several recommendations, including: formalizing Council’s authority to impose sanctions and remedial measures against a judge; that the lawyer appointed under the authority of the designated member of the Judicial Conduct Committee to lead the process be tasked with presenting all the evidence against the judge rather than deciding how to proceed in the “public interest”; and, to minimize expensive and cumbersome requests for judicial review, that the decision of a Judicial Discipline Committee be final, subject only to a right of appeal to an Appeal Tribunal of Council, after the process is concluded.

These proposals reflect the views of Council and will hopefully inform the Government’s views as legislative reforms are considered. Members of Council appreciate the openness with which the Minister of Justice and her officials have engaged Council in their consultations. Council members look forward to further engagement on reforms to ensure that Canadians can trust in the process by which concerns about judicial conduct are reviewed.

Contact:
Norman Sabourin
Executive Director and Senior General Counsel
(613) 288-1566 ext 313