The work of the Council

The Council provides judges with a continuing education program and ethical principles. It is the body that citizens can turn to if they have questions about their judge's conduct or to file a complaint.

Offering professional development

All judges must uphold a high level of knowledge and a deep respect for justice. Continuing education has proven to be an effective tool for maintaining up-to-date knowledge and skills that reflect the values and way of life of a constantly changing society. The content of these training programs focuses as much on knowledge of the law as on encouraging a sense of empathy for Canada's diverse communities.

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Guiding judical conduct

Judges are the link between society and justice. They are expected to conduct themselves in an irreproachable manner, both in their professional and personal lives. Their behaviour must reflect a high level of ethics and integrity. The Council provides them with guidelines to help them achieve and maintain these high ethical and professional standards.

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Reviewing a complaint

Step 1: The screening officer considers the complaint  and decides if it is referred to a member of the Judicial Conduct Committee who might seek additional information, seek the judge's comments, or might dismiss the matter if they decide it does not require further consideration or simply dismiss it.

Step 2: If the complaint is retained, it is forwarded to a member of the Judicial Conduct Committee, which in turn retains or dismisses the complaint. If the reviewing member retains the complaint, further investigation may be requested and the complaint is forwarded to a Review Panel. 

Step 3: The Review Panel decides whether the matter should be referred to a full hearing panel or whether sanctions under section 102 of the Act are warranted. 

Step 4: The hearing panel will conduct a hearing and will produce decision on the matter.

Step 5: An appeal panel can hear an appeal from a decision rendered by a hearing panel.

Step 6: The decision from an appeal panel can be the subject of an application for leave to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Step 7: Report to the Minister.

Judicial Inquiries

Judicial Inquiries

Filling a complaint

If you disapprove of the conduct of a federally appointed judge or if you feel that you have been unfairly treated, you can file a complaint with the Canadian Judicial Council.

The complaint must be made in writing to the Council by letter or e-mail. You can also fill out the form below.

Who can make a complaint, and against whom?

  • Any person can file a complaint against a federally appointed judge.
  • The complaint must concern a serving Canadian federally appointed judge.
  • Federal court judges and provincial superior court judges may also be subject to a complaint.

What types of complaints are eligible?

  • Only complaints about judges' conduct are admissible, not those regarding their rulings.
  • A judge's conduct from the time before they were appointed may also be the subject of a review by the Council.

What we can't do:

  • The Council cannot deal with a complaint concerning any lower provincial courts.
  • The Council does not have the authority to change a judge's decision; in some cases, it is impossible to appeal, while in others, it is necessary to refer the matter to the Court of Appeal.
  • Complaints about administrative staff and how judicial services were provided to you in superior federal or provincial courts are not admissible.