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Canadian Judicial Council announces date for initial hearing regarding the Honourable Lori Douglas

Ottawa, 1 May 2012 – The Inquiry Committee constituted to review the conduct of Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench will hold an initial hearing on Saturday, 19 May 2012 at 9:00 a.m. The hearing will be held at the Federal Court in Winnipeg, 363 Broadway Street, 4th Floor, courtroom #1. Proceedings of the Committee are open to members of the public. Space is limited.

The hearing on 19 May will address procedural matters. The issues which the Committee intends to address at the hearing of 19 May are: Applications for standing, including applications to intervene, and appointment of counsel. Any further written submissions on the above topics must be received on or before 15 May 2012. Written submissions must be sent to the Canadian Judicial Council, by email:

info@cjc-ccm.gc.ca

Or by mail:
Registrar
Canadian Judicial Council
Ottawa ON
K1A 0W8

The Committee will also consider oral submissions regarding venue for hearings and any other preliminary applications.

Information about the Council, including the process for public inquiries, can be found on the Council's website at www.cjc-ccm.gc.ca.

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


Background Information - Complaints and Inquiries

When someone believes that a judge's personal conduct (on or off the bench) is in question, a complaint can be made to the Canadian Judicial Council. When a complaint about a judge is found to have some merit, the question before the Council is ultimately whether or not the conduct in question prevents that judge from continuing to discharge his or her duties. The reasons for removal are set out in the Judges Act and address cases where a judge has become incapacitated or disabled from performing their duties by reason of age or infirmity, misconduct, a failure to execute the duties of the position, or being in a position incompatible with the functions of a judge.

All complaints received by the Canadian Judicial Council are reviewed in accordance with Council's Complaints Procedures and, as applicable, the Inquiries and Investigations By-laws.

A complaint is first reviewed by a member of the Judicial Conduct Committee. The judge in question, as well as the judge's chief justice, may be asked to comment the allegations. If the complaint cannot be resolved at that stage, the file can be referred to a Panel of up to five judges for further review. After considering the issues, a Panel can close the file. In some cases, remedial measures can be pursued. The Panel can express concern about the judge's conduct when warranted.

After reviewing the matter and conducting various enquiries, a Panel can also decide that the complaint may be serious enough to warrant a judge's removal. In that case, an Inquiry Committee is constituted to formally investigate the matter. The Committee is deemed to be a Superior Court.

An Inquiry Committee consists of an uneven number of members, the majority of which are Council members. The Minister of Justice can also appoint lawyers with a minimum of ten years experience. An "Independent Counsel" is appointed to present the facts to the Committee. Proceedings take place in public, unless the Inquiry Committee determines that the public interest requires that all or part of a hearing be conducted in private.

After completing its investigation, the Inquiry Committee reports its findings to Council. While Council accords considerable deference to the Inquiry Committee, it will then report its own recommendations to the Minister of Justice.

In accordance with the provisions of Canada's Constitution, a judge may only be removed from office after a joint address by Parliament. Details about past inquiries can be found on the Council's website at www.cjc-ccm.gc.ca