The process is open and accessible to everyone, whatever their knowledge of the legal system, skill, status, position or financial resources. The Council takes care to be fair to everyone involved. Given that Judges sometimes have to make unpopular decisions, the Council tries to establish whether a complaint is well-founded and is about the Judge's conduct or behaviour rather than his/her decision.

A complaint will be reviewed first by the Chairperson or a Vice-Chairperson of the Judicial Conduct Committee. He or she may forward a copy of the complaint to the Judge in question and to the Judge’s Chief Justice, requesting their comments. The matter may also be referred to a Panel of Council members for consideration. Further inquiries may be made by an independent lawyer.

If the complaint is considered sufficiently serious, a Panel may recommend that the Council formally investigate it. Ultimately, the Council may recommend to the Minister of Justice that a Judge be removed from the bench by Parliament.

The Canadian Judicial Council cannot:

overturn or change the decision of a judge, grant appeals or address demands for new trials
• compensate individuals
• look into general complaints about the courts or the judiciary as a whole
• investigate complaints about unnamed judges
• investigate complaints about court employees or lawyers
.

By law, a Judge can be removed “by reason of:

(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
age or infirmity,
having been guilty of misconduct,
having failed in the due execution of that office, or
having been placed by his conduct or otherwise, in a position incompatible with the  due execution of that office.” (Judges Act, s. 65)

The Council’s only power is to recommend to Parliament that a Judge be removed from office. Parliament has never had to face such a situation, although sometimes Judges retire or resign before the matter gets that far.

Where appropriate, the Council may express disapproval of a Judge’s conduct for example, if the matter is not serious enough to recommend that the Judge be removed.

 

How Do I Complain?.....

...about the conduct of: Send your complaint in writing to:

The Canadian Judicial Council
150 Metcalfe Street
15th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0W8

Include:

1.


2.

3.

a Chief or Associate Chief Justice of the
Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court

a Justice of the Court of Appeal

a Justice of the Supreme Court

1.
2,
3.
4.

5.

Your name and address
The Judge's name
The Court (Appeal, Supreme)
The date and circumstances of the conduct you wish to complain about
A description of the alleged misconduct, with as much detail as possible

 

The information on this page has been reproduced with the permission of the Canadian Judicial Council. Colour brochures
titled "The Conduct of Judges and the Role of the Canadian Judicial Council" and "Ethical Principles for Judges"
and other information can be downloaded from the website of the CANADIAN JUDICIAL COUNCIL >>