New Book on Comparative Judicial Discipline Published

Co-editors Richard Devlin and Sheila Wildeman, both of the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, have published the first comprehensive comparative analysis of judicial discipline. Disciplining Judges: Contemporary Challenges and Controversies is now available from Edward Elgar Publishing.

From the publisher’s site (here): “The jurisdictions examined are Australia, Canada, China, Croatia, England and Wales, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, South Africa, and the United States. The core findings are four-fold. First, the norms and practices of each discipline regime differ in ways that reflect distinct social, political, and cultural contexts. Second, some jurisdictions are doing better than others in responding to challenges of designing a nuanced and normatively defensible regime. Third, no jurisdiction has yet managed to construct a regime that can be said to adequately promote public confidence. Finally, important lessons can be learned through analysis of, and critically constructive engagement with, other jurisdictions.”

Judicial ethics has become an important area of concentration within the field of legal ethics. CALE/ACEJ in its institutional capacity and several of its members are active in that area. The links between judicial ethics and judicial discipline make this book a valuable contribution to the ongoing scholarship about judicial ethics.

Ethical Principles for Judges: Draft Released for Comment

The Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) has posted a draft of the revised Ethical Principles for Judges.  Information about the process of revising this important document is available here and the draft itself is available here.  The changes are sufficiently substantial that a blackline or mark-up drawing attention to the specific changes is not available.

CALE/ACEJ, through its Board of Directors, will provide feedback on the draft to the CJC by its new deadline (updated December 3, 2019) of February 14, 2020.  It will post this feedback on this website.

The revision of Ethical Principles for Judges is a generational event.  It is therefore important for the process to be as inclusive and responsive as possible to ensure continued public confidence in the Canadian judiciary.  CALE/ACEJ encourages anyone interested in judicial ethics and conduct to review the draft and to provide feedback to the CJC, either at or Canadian Judicial Council, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0W8.  If you provide feedback, you are most welcome to also share it with CALE/ACEJ.


CBA-FLSC Ethics Forum 2019

The Forum will be held from 9am to 4:30pm on March 1, 2019 at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto.  The Forum is an annual discussion between lawyers, academics and regulators who are interested in legal ethics and professional services regulation.  Registration information is available here.

This year the Forum will focus on four topics: modernizing legal regulation, current issues in judicial ethics, entrepreneurial ideas for improving access to justice, and obligations to unrepresented and self-represented parties.

Speakers include Chief Justice Robert Bauman, Dean Adam Dodek, Lisa Eisen, Irwin Fefergrad, Gillian Hadfield, Jacqueline Horvat, Lena Koke, Taryn McCormick, Jacqueline Mullenger, Andrew Pilliar, Darrel Pink, Stephen Pitel, Amy Salyzyn, Darcia Senft, Associate Chief Justice Deborah Smith, Justice Lorne Sossin and David Swayze.  The Forum is co-chaired by LSO Treasurer Malcolm Mercer and CALE Vice-President Amy Salyzyn.

Ontario Judicial Council Decision Regarding Justice Donald McLeod

In December 2018 the Ontario Judicial Council released its Reasons for Decision (available here) regarding a complaint against Justice Donald McLeod (of the Ontario Court of Justice).  The conduct in question involved his role as Chair of the Interim Steering Committee of the Federation of Black Canadians.  The Reasons found that Justice McLeod’s conduct was “incompatible with judicial office” (para 92) but that public confidence in his ability to serve as a judge or in the judiciary generally had not been undermined as a result (para 94).  Accordingly, the complaint against Justice McLeod was dismissed.

CJC Review Panel Report on Justice Patrick Smith

In November 2018 the Canadian Judicial Council released the Report of its Review Panel considering the conduct of Justice Patrick Smith (of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice).  The Report addressed issues arising from Justice Smith’s appointment as Interim Dean (Academic) of the Lakehead University Faculty of Law.  The report is available here.  It concluded that Justice Smith should not have accepted the appointment.  However, this was not sufficiently serious to warrant his removal as a judge.

Stephen GA Pitel, Michal Malecki: Judicial Fundraising in Canada

Published in the Alberta Law Review, Vol 52, No 3

Abstract: The extent to which judges should be involved in fundraising for civic and charitable causes is an important issue of judicial ethics. The default principle adopted by judicial councils in Canada precludes judges from fundraising subject to only minor exceptions. Yet anecdotal evidence indicates that some Canadian judges do engage in fundraising. This raises the question of whether there should be a change to the principle so as to allow judges greater scope for fundraising activities. The aim of this article is to review the ethical principles for judicial fundraising and evaluate whether they require modifications for the modern Canadian judiciary. The authors consider several hypothetical fundraising scenarios and propose recommendations to the Canadian Judicial Council’s Ethical Principles for Judges.

Composition of the Inquiry Committee established in regard to the Honourable Michel Déziel

Ottawa, 11 August 2014 – The Canadian Judicial Council announced today the composition of the Inquiry Committee established to review the conduct of Justice Michel Déziel.

The Inquiry Committee is comprised of three members: two Chief Justices appointed by the Canadian Judicial Council and one lawyer appointed by the Minister of Justice. The members are: the Honourable Ernest Drapeau, First Vice-chair of Council and Chief Justice of New Brunswick (Chairperson); the Honourable Glenn D. Joyal, Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba; Mr René Basque, Q.C. of the law firm Actus in New Brunswick.

Ms Suzanne Gagné of the law firm Létourneau Gagné in Québec City has been appointed Independent Counsel in accordance with the Council’s Bylaws. Her mandate is to present the case to the Inquiry Committee, in the public interest.

Under the Judges Act, the Inquiry Committee is deemed to be a Superior Court. The Committee will decide, in the coming weeks, when to hear this matter. Inquiry Committee hearings are normally held in public, although private hearings are possible if required in the public interest and the due administration of justice. The Committee will decide on the scope of its inquiry.

The mandate of the Inquiry Committee is to review all the issues and submit a report to the Canadian Judicial Council, presenting its findings and conclusions on whether or not a recommendation should be made for the removal of the judge from office. The Council will then make a recommendation to the Minister of Justice regarding the judge’s ability to remain in office.

Information about the Council, including the process for public inquiries, can be found on the Council’s website at

Contact: Norman Sabourin Executive Director and Senior General Counsel (613) 288-1566 ext 313


Composition du comité d’enquête établi au sujet de l’honorable Michel Déziel

Ottawa, le 11 août 2014 – Le Conseil canadien de la magistrature a dévoilé aujourd’hui les noms des membres du comité d’enquête mis en place pour examiner la conduite du juge Michel Déziel.

Le comité d’enquête est composé de trois membres: deux juges en chef nommés par le Conseil canadien de la magistrature et un avocat nommé par le ministre de la Justice. Les membres sont: l’honorable Ernest Drapeau, premier vice-président du Conseil et juge en chef du Nouveau-Brunswick (président), l’honorable Glenn D. Joyal, juge en chef de la Cour du Banc de la Reine du Manitoba et Me René Basque, c.r. du cabinet Actus au Nouveau-Brunswick.

Me Suzanne Gagné, du cabinet Létourneau Gagné à Québec, a été nommée avocate indépendante. Conformément au règlement du Conseil, elle a pour mandat de présenter l’affaire au Comité d’enquête, dans l’intérêt public.

En vertu de la Loi sur les juges, le comité d’enquête est réputé être une Cour supérieure. Le Comité agit de façon indépendante et devra décider, au cours des prochaines semaines, quand il entendra cette affaire. Les rencontres du Comité d’enquête se déroulent normalement en public, bien que des audiences privées sont possibles si l’intérêt public et la bonne administration de la justice le requièrent. Le Comité décidera de la portée de son enquête.

Le mandat du Comité d’enquête est de revoir l’ensemble de l’affaire afin de présenter un rapport au Conseil canadien de la magistrature sur ses conclusions quant à savoir si une recommandation devrait ou non être faite pour relever le juge de ses fonctions. Le Conseil présentera ensuite une recommandation au ministre de la Justice en ce qui concerne l’aptitude du juge à remplir ses fonctions.

Des renseignements sur le Conseil, y compris le processus d’enquêtes publiques, peuvent être consultés sur le site Web du Conseil à

Personne-ressource : Norman Sabourin Directeur exécutif et avocat général principal (613) 288-1566 poste 313


R Mendleson and R Brennan, Judging of judges should be public: Opposition critics

 Critics at Queen’s Park are calling on the province to lift the veil of secrecy that keeps the public in the dark about investigations into complaints against judges.

“There is something suspicious about the whole process when there isn’t even a report put out to the public,” interim Progressive Conservative Leader Jim Wilson said Monday. “I think the government should be held accountable.”

Wilson’s comments come after a Star investigation into a complaint against a Toronto judge who had been repeatedly admonished, and the system that keeps the vast majority of such complaints under lock and key.

Confidential documents, provided to the Star by an unknown source, detailed how the complaint was handled in secret, and the case closed.

According to the Ontario Judicial Council, which probes complaints against judges, there is a “general order,” permitted under Ontario law, banning the publication of any documents and information relating to complaints that don’t result in a public hearing.

The rest of the Toronto Star story HERE

G Hamilton: Judge accused of buying cocaine as a lawyer attempts to halt disciplinary procedure before hearings even begin

National Post article

Graeme Hamilton
Thursday, Jul. 10, 2014

MONTREAL — A Quebec Superior Court judge facing possible removal from the bench over allegations he bought cocaine during his days as a lawyer has gone to court in an attempt to halt a disciplinary procedure before hearings are even held.

In an application for judicial review filed with Federal Court, Justice Michel Girouard is challenging the Canadian Judicial Council’s powers to investigate complaints against judges.

Among other arguments, Judge Girouard is saying the council has no business examining his behaviour when he was practising law before his 2010 appointment to the bench. “Only the provincial authority has the jurisdiction to investigate and draw conclusions on the conduct of a lawyer,” his lawyers write in the application.

The Council, whose members include Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and all superior court chief and associate chief justices, announced in February that it would hold a public inquiry into Judge Girouard’s conduct.

“After a careful review of the matter, the members of the [review] panel decided that the issues in question are serious enough that they could warrant the judge’s removal from office,” the council said at the time. A three-person inquiry committee was named last month, but proceedings are on hold until the Federal Court case is resolved.

The rest of the story HERE

Vesselin Popovski (ed): International Rule of Law and Professional Ethics

You will receive a 20% discount if you order with the information found in the PDF attached.

International Rule of Law and Professional Ethics Feb 2014

This book examines the interesting and relatively understudied area of the evolution of the international rule of law and the role of professional ethics. With chapters contributed by leading names in international law, this book offers analysis and recommends policies to strengthen the rule of law at international level to meet a major global governance demand in ensuring equity, justice, stability and consistency in international affairs.


  • Introduction; From domestic to international rule of law: a long and unfinished journey, Vesselin Popovski;
  • ‘Unqualified human good’ or a bit of ‘ruling-class chatter’? The rule of law at the national and international level, Simon Chesterman;
  • ‘Thin theories’ of the domestic and international rule of law, Charles Sampford; Reflections on the rule of law: its scope and significance for partners in development, John Barker;
  • What is ‘international impartiality’?, Frédéric Mégret;
  • Professions without borders: global ethics and the international rule of law, Charles Sampford;
  • International civil service ethics, professionalism and the rule of law, Lorne Sossin and Vasuda Sinha;
  • International rule of law? Ethics and impartiality of legal professionals in international criminal tribunals, Chandra Lekha Sriram;
  • Judicial ethics at the international criminal tribunals, William Schabas;
  • Conclusion, Vesselin Popovski;
  • Index.