In a family court matter involving the custody of a child, a judge became the source of various complaints.

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In a family court matter involving the custody of a child, a judge became the source of various complaints. The complainant alleged that no one was called to the stand during the hearing, the judge did not wear a robe, the judge portrayed her opinion as if the hearing was a nuisance, and she also seemed disorganized and biased. The complainant continued to state that the judge did not consider the “best interest of the child”, discredited the complainant’s son as a father, and she claimed that her son’s lawyer was uncharacteristically quiet during the hearing.

The judge was asked to comment on the complaints, to which she replied that she had no ill intentions on making the complainant upset. The judge stated that, in her court, it is permissible to wear business attire when not hearing oral evidence, and that many of her decisions were based on the decisions made by a judge in a former trial on this matter.

In its review, the Council noted that judicial decision-making is often made difficult by the parties and by the highly emotionally-charged issues before the Court. Due to these conditions, the judge must assert firm control over the proceeding and act with appropriate firmness to maintain an atmosphere of dignity, equality and order in the courtroom. As for the best interest of the child, there are many factors that are considered which include the relationship with each parent, personal and physical wellbeing, and economic stability. These factors were considered during the proceeding. The Council concluded that the complaints were not regarding a matter of conduct, but rather the outcome of the hearing. As the Council cannot intervene with the court process, the matter was closed.

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