Canadian Judicial Council announces next steps for the Inquiry Committee in the case of Mr Justice P.T. Matlow



    OTTAWA, Oct. 9 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Judicial Council announced
today that the Inquiry Committee established to investigate the conduct of
Mr Justice P.T. Matlow of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice will hold a
pre-hearing conference on 19 and 20 November 2007 at 10 a.m. at The Mediation
Place, 390 Bay Street in Toronto, Ontario.
    At the pre-hearing conference, which is open to the public, the Committee
will deal with procedural matters and hear any pre-hearing motions.
    The Inquiry Committee consists of three judicial members, appointed by
the Council, and two senior lawyers, appointed by the Minister of Justice. The
members of the Committee are:

    
    - The Honourable Clyde K. Wells, Chief Justice of Newfoundland and
      Labrador (Chairperson);
    - The Honourable François Rolland, Chief Justice, Superior Court of
      Quebec;
    - The Honourable Ronald Veale, Senior Judge, Supreme Court of the Yukon
      Territory;
    - Maria Lynn Freeland, Barrister and Solicitor, of Meadow Lake,
      Saskatchewan; and
    - Douglas M. Hummell, Barrister and Solicitor, of St. Catharines,
      Ontario.
    

    Independent counsel, Douglas Hunt of the law firm Hunt Partners LLP, has
been appointed to present the case to the Inquiry Committee. The mandate of
Independent Counsel is to act in the public interest and to bring all relevant
facts and points of law before the Committee for its consideration. Justice
Matlow is represented by Paul Cavalluzzo of the firm Cavalluzzo, Hayes,
Shilton, McIntyre & Cornish LLP.
    The inquiry hearing will be open to the public and is expected to be held
in January, 2008, on a date or dates to be announced. After the inquiry has
concluded, the Committee will report its findings to the Canadian Judicial
Council. In accordance with Canada's Constitution, a judge may only be removed
from office through a joint resolution of Parliament. The Council's mandate,
under the Judges Act, is to make a recommendation in that regard.

    The Canadian Judicial Council is composed of the chief justices and
associate chief justices of Canada's superior courts. Information about the
Council is available at www.cjc.gc.ca


    Background Information - Complaints and Inquiries process:
    ----------------------------------------------------------

    When someone believes that a judge's personal conduct (on or off the
bench) is in question, a complaint may be made to the Canadian Judicial
Council. The Council examines only issues of conduct and does not review a
judge's decision in law.
    The complaints process is simple: the complaint must be in writing, and
it must concern the conduct of a federally appointed judge. No special forms
are necessary. No legal counsel is required. No fees are charged. To the
extent possible, the Council reviews anonymous complaints in the same way as
complaints that are signed.
    When a complaint is made, the question before the Council is ultimately
whether or not a judge's conduct prevents that judge from discharging his
duties as a judge. In such a case, the Council must decide whether or not to
recommend that a judge be removed from office.
    A complaint is first reviewed by a member of the Judicial Conduct
Committee. A complaint can be dismissed when it is clearly frivolous or does
not fall within the mandate of the Council. In roughly half of cases, the
complaint is studied in more detail and the judge in question, as well as
judge's chief justice, are sent a copy of the complaint and asked for their
comments. The complaint is often resolved at this stage, with an appropriate
letter of explanation to the complainant.
    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. When a Panel
concludes that the complaint has merit but is not serious enough to move to
the next stage (a formal hearing by an Inquiry Committee) then the Panel may
close the file with an expression of concern, or may recommend counselling or
other remedial measures.
    When the complaint may be serious enough to warrant the judge's removal,
the Panel can recommend that the Council establish an Inquiry Committee. After
completing its investigation, an Inquiry Committee reports its findings to the
Canadian Judicial Council. The Council then decides whether or not to
recommend to the Minister of Justice of Canada that the judge be removed from
office. In accordance with the provision of Canada's Constitution, a judge may
be removed from office only after a joint resolution by Parliament.




For further information:

For further information: Norman Sabourin, Executive Director and General
Counsel, (613) 288-1566 ext. 301

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Canadian Judicial Council

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