New process for punishing judges accused of misconduct becomes federal law

Click to play video: '‘Not comfortable’: Calls for more transparency after SCOC justice’s departure'
‘Not comfortable’: Calls for more transparency after SCOC justice’s departure
WATCH: 'Not comfortable': Calls for more transparency after SCOC justice's departure – Jun 13, 2023

A new process for how the Canadian Judicial Council will review misconduct allegations against judges has been written into the law.

A bill that received royal assent Thursday evening amends the Judges Act to clarify when a judge can be removed and changes the way the council reports recommendations to remove a judge to the federal justice minister.

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The law also creates a new panel to review complaints and determine whether a judge’s removal is justified, as well as a new process for how judges can appeal disciplinary decisions against them.

Justice Minister David Lametti says the new process will lead to timelier and more cost-effective resolutions, and replaces a more expensive, drawn-out process.

Anyone can make a complaint against a judge, but it must be done in writing and sent to the judicial council.

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The judicial oversight process garnered heightened attention earlier this year when the council announced it would review a complaint against former Supreme Court justice Russell Brown, a probe that ended when Brown announced his retirement from the top court earlier this month.

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