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.

S Fine: The new face of judicial defiance


KITCHENER, ONT. — The Globe and Mail

PublishedFriday, Dec. 13 2013, 10:46 PM EST

Last updatedFriday, Dec. 13 2013, 10:46 PM EST

Justice Colin Westman still remembers when, as a young lawyer who had barely outgrown a pampered childhood in Shawinigan, Que., he first read the pre-sentence reports that contain the life stories of convicted men and women.

“It was like fiction,” the 70-year-old father of two tells a reporter in his Kitchener, Ont., office during a morning break from court. “I couldn’t believe the tragic backgrounds of some of these people. From the day they were born, they were behind the eight-ball.”

Today, after more than two decades of seeing a steady procession of those people, whom he calls broken souls, in his courtroom, Justice Westman has become one of many in several provinces defying the spirit, and sometimes the letter, of the Conservative government’s tough-on-crime agenda. Continue reading

Canadian Judicial Council announces next steps in the review of a matter involving the Honourable Michel Déziel

For the original post on the CJC website, click HERE

Ottawa, 22 November 2013 –The Canadian Judicial Council announced today that a Panel of three judges will undertake further review of the conduct of the Honourable Michel Déziel.

Allegations surrounding the conduct of Justice Déziel were raised in the context of an ongoing Commission of Inquiry and were brought to the attention of Council in May 2013. In accordance with the Complaints Procedures of Council, these allegations were considered by the Honourable Edmond Blanchard, Vice-Chairperson of the Judicial Conduct Committee of Council. Having considered all the available information, including the judge’s response to the allegations, Chief Justice Blanchard has decided that this matter would benefit from further consideration by a Panel of three judges. Continue reading

Update on Lori Douglas Inquiry: Inquiry Committee Resigns

From the Canadian Judicial Council website:

Ottawa, 20 November 2013 –The members of the Inquiry Committee appointed to review a matter involving Associate Chief Justice Douglas have announced their resignation, effective immediately. The Committee has released reasons for its decision, which are available on the website of the Canadian Judicial Council. In its reasons, the Inquiry Committee notes a number of factors that led to its decision, and notes that the public interest would not be served by ongoing delays, public expenditures and uncertainty about the process itself.

Currently, the Federal Court is scheduled to hear a challenge from Associate Chief Justice Douglas about a number of issues. Some questions remain about whether these proceedings will go ahead as planned.

Council’s mandate and duty is to ensure that the review of allegations against the judge can proceed in accordance with the provisions of theJudges Act and with Council’s By-laws in a fair and expeditious manner, in keeping with the public interest. In due course, another inquiry committee may be appointed in respect of Associate Chief Justice Douglas.

Norman Sabourin
Executive Director and Senior General Counsel
(613) 288-1566 ext 302

J Rozenburg: Judges Could Quit Over Pensions

Monday 17 June 2013 by Joshua Rozenberg wrote a brief article for the Law Gazette in the UK, on Judges, pensions and work in retirement.  Click HERE

Stephen Pitel and Will Bentolin discuss a range of issues that arise in retirement for Judges in their article “Revising Canada’s Ethical Rules for Judges Returning to Practice” available on SSRN HERE. Continue reading

Cojocaru v. British Columbia Women’s Hospital and Health Centre, 2013 SCC 30

Judgments and orders — Reasons — Trial judge delivering reasons for judgment consisting of reproduction of plaintiffs’ written submissions — Whether trial judge’s decision should be set aside because reasons for judgment incorporated large portions of material prepared by others.

From the judgment:

The question before us is whether a trial judge’s decision should be set aside because his reasons incorporate large portions of material prepared by others, in this case the plaintiffs.

1.         A Matter of Procedure

[12]                           Judicial decisions can be set aside either for substantive errors or procedural errors.  A complaint that a judge’s decision should be set aside because the reasons for judgment incorporate materials from other sources is essentially a procedural complaint.  It goes not to whether the decision is correct on the merits having regard to the evidence and the law, but to whether the process by which it was reached is procedurally fair.  A fair process requires not only that the parties be allowed to submit evidence and arguments to the judge, but that the judge decide the issues independently and impartially as the judge is sworn to do.  Extensive incorporation may raise concerns that the judge has not done so.

[13]                          To determine whether a defect relating to reasons for judgment is evidence of procedural error negating a fair process, the alleged deficiency must be viewed objectively, through the eyes of a reasonable observer, having regard to all relevant matters: see e.g. R. v. Teskey2007 SCC 25 (CanLII), 2007 SCC 25, [2007] 2 S.C.R. 267.  Reasons need not be extensive or cover every aspect of the judge’s reasoning; in some cases, the basis of the reasons may be found in the record.  The question is whether a reasonable person would conclude that the alleged deficiency, taking into account all relevant circumstances, is evidence that the decision-making process was fundamentally unfair, in the sense that the judge did not put her mind to the facts, the arguments and the issues, and decide them impartially and independently.

For the full judgment on CanLII, click HERE