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Judges Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. J-1)

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Act current to 2024-05-01 and last amended on 2023-06-22. Previous Versions

PART IIIAdministration of Federal Judicial Affairs (continued)

Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada

Marginal note:Duties and functions

  •  (1) The duties and functions described in paragraphs 74(1)(a) to (c) shall, in relation to the Supreme Court of Canada and the judges thereof, be carried out by the Registrar of the Court, who may, for that purpose, utilize the services of other persons on the staff of the Court.

  • Marginal note:Registrar deemed deputy head

    (2) The Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada shall, for the purposes of the Public Service Employment Act and other Acts of Parliament and for purposes relating to the duties and functions of the Registrar under this section, be deemed to be the deputy head of the portion of the federal public administration appointed under subsection 12(2) of the Supreme Court Act.

  • R.S., 1985, c. J-1, s. 75
  • 2003, c. 22, s. 224(E)

 [Repealed, 2002, c. 8, s. 109]

Commissioner’s Staff

Marginal note:Appointment

 The officers, clerks and employees who are required by the Commissioner to carry out the Commissioner’s duties and functions under section 74 shall be appointed under the Public Service Employment Act.

  • R.S., 1985, c. J-1, s. 77
  • 2002, c. 8, s. 110

Marginal note:Commissioner is deputy head

 The Commissioner and the officers, clerks and employees appointed under section 77 shall be a portion of the federal public administration that is separate from the Department of Justice and of which the Commissioner shall be the deputy head.

  • R.S., 1985, c. J-1, s. 78
  • 2002, c. 8, s. 110
  • 2003, c. 22, s. 224(E)

PART IVConduct Review Process

DIVISION 1Complaints Concerning Judges

Definition

Marginal note:Definition of judicial office

 In this Division, judicial office includes the office of an associate judge.

Removal from Office

Marginal note:Justification

 For the purposes of this Division, the removal from office of a judge is justified only if, for any of the following reasons, the judge’s continuation in office would undermine public confidence in the impartiality, integrity or independence of the judge or of their office to such an extent that it would render the judge incapable of executing the functions of judicial office:

  • (a) infirmity;

  • (b) misconduct;

  • (c) failure in the due execution of judicial office;

  • (d) the judge is in a position that a reasonable, fair-minded and informed observer would consider to be incompatible with the due execution of judicial office.

Rosters

Marginal note:Establishment of roster of judges

  •  (1) The Council shall establish a roster of superior court judges who may be designated as members of a panel established under this Division. The judges on the roster must not be members of the Council.

  • Marginal note:Number

    (2) The number of judges on the roster is set at the discretion of the Council.

  • Marginal note:Recommendation

    (3) The naming of a judge to the roster must be made on the recommendation of the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association.

  • Marginal note:Term

    (4) A judge named to the roster remains on it for four years unless they cease to hold judicial office or request to be removed from the roster. When the four-year term ends, the judge may be renamed to the roster on the recommendation of the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association.

Marginal note:Establishment of lay persons

  •  (1) The Council shall establish a roster of lay persons who may be designated as members of a review panel or full hearing panel established under this Division.

  • Marginal note:Number

    (2) The number of persons on the roster is set at the discretion of the Council.

  • Marginal note:Conditions

    (3) To be named to the roster, a person must

    • (a) never have been admitted to the bar of any province or to the Chambre des notaires du Québec;

    • (b) never have worked as a paralegal in Canada; and

    • (c) meet the other selection criteria established by the Council.

  • Marginal note:Selection criteria made public

    (4) The Council shall make public the selection criteria that it has established for the purpose of paragraph (3)(c).

  • Marginal note:Term

    (5) A person named to the roster of lay persons remains on it for four years unless they request to be removed from the roster or, in the opinion of the Council, they cease to meet the conditions set out in subsection (3). When the four-year term ends, the person may be renamed to the roster.

Marginal note:Official languages

 In naming persons to the roster of judges and to the roster of lay persons, the Council shall take into account the fact that the proceedings of panels established under this Division will be in either or both official languages.

Marginal note:Diversity

 The Council shall name persons who reflect the diversity of the Canadian population to the roster of judges and to the roster of lay persons.

Marginal note:Rosters available to public

 The Council shall make the roster of judges and the roster of lay persons available to the public.

Complaints

Marginal note:Complaints

  •  (1) Complaints may be made to the Council, in the form specified by the Council, in respect of a judge of a superior court for any reason referred to in paragraphs 80(a) to (d).

  • Marginal note:Complaint by Council

    (2) The Council may make a complaint only if two of its members have reasonable grounds to believe that the public’s confidence in the impartiality, integrity or independence of the judge or of the judicial office of the judge could be undermined for any reason referred to in paragraphs 80(a) to (d).

  • Marginal note:Anonymous complaints

    (3) A complaint may be made anonymously, but such a complaint may be dealt with only if two members of the Council have reasonable grounds to believe that the public’s confidence in the impartiality, integrity or independence of the judge or of the judicial office of the judge could be undermined for any reason referred to in paragraphs 80(a) to (d).

Marginal note:Notice to complainant

 The Council shall establish policies respecting the notifying of complainants of any decisions made under this Division.

Screening Officer

Marginal note:Designation

 The Council may designate as a screening officer one or more persons, including a judge, who meets the criteria specified by the Council.

Marginal note:Referral to screening officer

 The Council shall refer every complaint to a screening officer, other than a complaint made by the Council itself or an anonymous complaint.

Marginal note:Dismissal of complaint

  •  (1) Subject to subsection (2), a screening officer may dismiss a complaint if they are of the opinion that it

    • (a) is frivolous, vexatious or made for an improper purpose or is an abuse of process;

    • (b) was not made for a reason referred to in paragraphs 80(a) to (d); or

    • (c) does not meet the other screening criteria specified by the Council.

  • Marginal note:Screening criteria to be made public

    (2) The Council shall make public the screening criteria that it has established for the purpose of paragraph (1)(c).

  • Marginal note:Restriction

    (3) A screening officer shall not dismiss a complaint that alleges sexual misconduct or sexual harassment or that alleges discrimination on a prohibited ground of discrimination within the meaning of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Marginal note:Referral to Council

 If a screening officer does not dismiss a complaint, they shall refer it to the Council for the designation of a reviewing member.

Reviewing Member

Marginal note:Designation

 In the case of a complaint made by the Council itself or an anonymous complaint, or on receipt of a complaint referred to it under section 91, the Council shall designate one of its members to review the complaint.

Marginal note:Written submissions

 The reviewing member shall give the judge who is the subject of the complaint an opportunity to make written submissions about the complaint within the time limit established by the Council for the purpose of this section.

Marginal note:Dismissal of complaint

  •  (1) The reviewing member shall dismiss the complaint if they are of the opinion that it should be dismissed for any reason set out in paragraphs 90(1)(a) to (c) or that it is wholly without merit.

  • Marginal note:Communication of dismissal

    (2) If the reviewing member dismisses the complaint, they shall inform the complainant in writing of their decision and the reasons for it.

  • Marginal note:Exclusion

    (3) The reasons shall not include information that is confidential or personal, or that is not in the public interest to disclose.

Marginal note:Referral to Council

 If the reviewing member does not dismiss the complaint, they shall refer it to the Council for the establishment of a review panel.

Marginal note:Notice of decision

 The reviewing member shall give notice of their decision to the judge who is the subject of the complaint and to the chief justice of the court of which the judge is a member.

Marginal note:Provision of information

 After the review panel is established, the reviewing member shall provide it with every document in their possession that relates to the complaint. The reviewing member may also provide the review panel with their observations about the complaint and their recommendations about how it should be resolved.

Review Panel

Marginal note:Establishment

  •  (1) Subject to subsection (2), on receipt of a complaint referred to it under section 95, the Council shall establish a review panel consisting of the following persons designated by the Council to review the complaint:

    • (a) a member of the Council;

    • (b) a judge named in the roster of judges; and

    • (c) a person named in the roster of lay persons.

  • Marginal note:Direction to review new complaint

    (2) If a complaint is referred to the Council under section 95 and a review panel established to review a previous complaint involving the same judge has not yet made a decision in respect of that complaint, the Council may direct the review panel to also review the new complaint.

Marginal note:Written submissions

 The review panel shall give the judge who is the subject of the complaint and chief justice of the court of which the judge is a member an opportunity to provide written submissions within the time limit established by the Council for the purpose of this section.

Marginal note:Basis of decisions

 The review panel shall make its decision only on the basis of the substance of the complaint, any information provided under section 97, any written submissions provided under section 99 and any other document that it considers relevant.

 

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