Ottawa, October 14 2010

Changes to some aspects of the Complaints Process


Changes to some aspects of the Complaints Process - effective 14 October 2010

How do I make a complaint to the Council?

No changes have been made to the normal process for making a complaint: a complaint must be made in writing and can be sent by mail, fax or email. A complaint should include the name of the judge and a detailed description of the conduct complained about. The Council takes judicial conduct matters very seriously.

All complaints are reviewed in accordance with the Council's Complaints Procedures, with 80% of complaints being completed within 3 months and 95% within 6 months.

So, what's new?

Changes were made in October 2010 regarding the functioning of Panels and of Public Inquiry Committees reviewing allegations of misconduct.

Complaints are sometimes referred to a Panel of 3 or 5 judges for consideration. In those cases, the Panel now has the authority, on behalf of the Council, to constitute a Public Inquiry Committee, when the matter may be serious enough to warrant removal of a judge. To that end, changes have been made to the Canadian Judicial Council Inquiries and Investigations By-laws, in particular section 1.2, section 9 and section 10. The new By-laws are available here.

The process before a Public Inquiry Committee has not changed. The process has been modified in regard to the opportunity of the Judge to make an oral statement before Council. Following the report of the Public Inquiry Committee, the Judge can make written submissions to Council regarding the report. The process in regard to the Council's meeting to consider the report of an Inquiry Committee has also been modified.

Changes have also been made to parts of the Complaints Procedures. The revised Procedures are available here. Council has also adopted new policies which are available here.