Ottawa, October 29 2002

Judicial Council confirms inquiry requested by the Attorney General of Quebec of the Court of Appeal for Ontario

OTTAWA, October 29, 2002 - The Canadian Judicial Council today confirmed that the Council will establish an inquiry at the request of the Attorney General of Quebec to consider the conduct of Mr. Justice Jean-Guy Boilard of the Superior Court of Quebec.

The Attorney General, by way of a letter from his Deputy Minister, Mr. Michel Bouchard, has requested an inquiry pursuant to ss.63(1) of the Judges Act to consider whether Mr. Justice Boilard’s decision to recuse himself from the trial he was conducting in July 2002 constitutes misconduct, or a failure in the due execution of office, or means that the judge has been placed, by his conduct or otherwise, in a position incompatible with the due execution of his office. A 'request' in this context is mandatory, and the Council must establish an inquiry upon receiving such a request.

The process for the inquiry will be governed by the Constitution Act, 1867, the Judges Act, and the 1998 Council By-laws. Relevant sections are attached.

The establishment of an inquiry under ss.63 (1) of the Judges Act is rare. This is only the fourth time since the creation of the Council in 1971 that a provincial attorney general has invoked that provision. The Attorney General of Quebec has directed the establishment of three inquiries: the 1996 Bienvenue Inquiry; the 2002 Flynn Inquiry, and this inquiry. The Attorney General of Nova Scotia was the first provincial attorney general to invoke the provision of the Judges Act (the 1990 Marshall case involving judges of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal).

A Minister of Justice of Canada can also instigate such a process and has done so occasionally (most recently in 1996 by joining with the Attorney General of Quebec in requesting the Bienvenue inquiry, and in 1999 by requesting an inquiry into the conduct of then Mr. Justice Robert Flahiff of the Superior Court of Quebec).

A referral of a matter to an inquiry committee can also come about under ss.63(2) of the Act by decision of the Canadian Judicial Council, following consideration of a report by a Panel recommending an investigation by an Inquiry Committee. The most recent such example was in 1994 in the case of then Mr. Justice Gratton of the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division). Information about these inquiries can be found on the Council website at http://www.cjc-ccm.gc.ca/english/conduct_en.asp?selMenu=conduct_inquiry_en.asp.

The Council will provide further information once the Inquiry Committee has been established and its hearing date set. Until then, no further comment will be made.

Contact

Jeannie Thomas
Executive Director
(613) 998-5182