Fewer complaints reported
OTTAWA, May 10, 2002 – The Canadian Judicial Council has reported a decline in the number of public complaints about the conduct of superior court judges.
The Council, which is responsible under the Judges Act for dealing with complaints and allegations of judicial misconduct, reported that 150 new complaint files were opened in 2000-01, which compares with 169 the previous year and an average of 172 over the previous three years.
During the year 155 files were closed. Details were provided in the annual report of the Council, whose 39 members lead Canada's superior courts. Males accounted for 72 per cent of complainants compared with 63 per cent in 1999-2000. Custody, divorce and other disputes related to family law accounted for 44 per cent of complaints, a decline from 55 per cent the previous year and a break from a pattern of steady increases in recent years.
In her preface to the annual report, Canada's Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, who heads the Supreme Court of Canada and chairs the Council, noted judges' commitment to continuous learning. Each year hundreds of superior court judges take courses in subjects as diverse as civil, criminal and family law, genetics, ethics and property issues, social context education, pre-trial settlements and use of computers
Canadian judges also support judicial reforms in countries around the world by helping set up model courts and training centres, participating in seminars and providing institutional support.
The text of the annual report may be found on the Canadian Judicial Council's web site at http://www.cjc-ccm.gc.ca/.