Council issues statement regarding complaint about Mr. Justice Jean-Guy Boilard

OTTAWA, Monday, July 22, 2002 - The Executive Director of the Canadian Judicial Council, Ms. Jeannie Thomas, confirmed today that a complaint was recently dealt with by a Panel of the Council involving Mr. Justice Jean-Guy Boilard of the Quebec Superior Court.

The Panel dealt with a complaint sent to the Council in July 2001 by a Quebec lawyer, Maître Gilles Doré. In his complaint, Me Doré complained about the attitude, conduct and behaviour of the judge in relation to himself as a lawyer. The complainant alleged that the judge was incapable of performing the role of judge.

The then Vice-Chairperson of the Judicial Conduct Committee, The Honourable John Richard, Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Canada, asked the late Maître Bruno Pateras to undertake 'further inquiries' and following receipt of his report, Chief Justice Richard referred the file to a Panel consisting of The Honourable Alban Garon, Chief Judge of the Tax Court of Canada, (Panel Chairperson), Chief Justice Armand DesRoches of the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island, Trial Division, and The Honourable Louise Charron of the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

Maître Doré was advised by letter from Ms. Thomas dated July 15, 2002, that the Committee decided not to recommend any investigation pursuant to subsection 63(2) of the Judges Act. The Panel nevertheless concluded that some of the judge's remarks in relation to the lawyer were unjustified and unacceptable. Mr. Justice Boilard was advised of the Panel's concerns in a letter of the same date to him from the Chairperson of the Panel, and the Council's file was closed.

Ms. Thomas stated "It is most regrettable that Mr. Justice Boilard learned of the Panel's decision via the media, as he indicated was the case in the decision he released today. It is very surprising that the judge had not received the Panel's letter directly before having been informed of its existence by a representative of the media."

In closing a complaint file that has been made public by the complainant or others, the Council will generally issue a news release, or have a statement available in the event of media enquiries. Out of respect for the privacy of both the complainant and the judge, the Council will not make the fact of a complaint or its disposition public on its own initiative.

Hence, as the Council was not aware before today that this matter had been made public, it has not previously issued any statement about this complaint file.

Information about the Council's process for dealing with complaints, including related provisions of the Council's by-laws, may be found on the Council web site at http://www.cjc-ccm.gc.ca/.