Canada Makes Changes To Legislative Complaint Process
Law firms in Canada like MyDefence.ca are aware of the fact that the country’s judicial complaint process is something that was written up in the 80s, and that it might be in need of some changes.
Canada recently did just that, introducing amendments to the Judges Act aimed at allowing for complaints to judges to be handled better and more fairly. The changes were introduced on the last week of May 2021.
More serious complaints against federal judges could possibly lead to benching, but these changes will amend and streamline the process to ensure that complaints don’t lead to issues in the judicial system. These amendments will also impose mandatory sanctions on any judge if any complaint of misconduct against them is deemed as justified but not grievous enough to actually require a removal from office. Any judge hit with a sanction will be reprimanded, on top of being required to take counseling, and education sessions.
The Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) will also be required to include the number of complaints judges received and how they were resolved as part of their annual report.
The CJC, as part of the Judges Act, has the right and the responsibility to investigate the conduct and behavior of judges of federally-appointed judges, covering the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada and federal courts, as well as the judges of the provincial and territorial superior trial, and territorial courts.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti stated that Canadians need to see that their judicial system is trustworthy; that it’s fair to everyone. The country has changed and is changing, they add, with Canadians’ expectation of judicial behavior and accountability changing with it.
On top of streamlining the judicial complaint process to improve efficiency and reduce the costs such cases incur, Canadian judges will now be accountable for less serious acts of misconduct.
CJC Director of Communications Johanna Laporte stated that a key part of making sure that Canadians have access to the needed legal help, beyond connecting them to law firms like MyDefence.ca that’ll help them, is to ensure trust in the judicial system. They noted how the Chief Justice and the Council have been asking for years for reforms to the judicial conduct process to provide Canadians with a more efficient and transparent system.