OTTAWA, Jan. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Paul Cosgrove, of the
Ontario Superior Court of Justice, has presented written submissions and
informed the Council that he will appear before Council to make a brief oral
statement about the Inquiry Committee's report. That report, made public on 4
December 2008, concluded that there are grounds to justify a recommendation
for the judge's removal from judicial office.
In order to hear Justice Cosgrove's oral statement, the Canadian Judicial
Council will hold a public meeting on 6 March 2009, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in
Ballroom B at the InterContinental Toronto Centre, 225 Front Street West, in
Toronto, Ontario. Justice Cosgrove's lawyer will make representations, as will
Independent Counsel. The role of Independent Counsel is to represent the
The Inquiry Committee's report and Justice Cosgrove's written submission
are available on the <a href="http://www.cjc-ccm.gc.ca/english/conduct_en.asp?selMenu=conduct_inq_cosgrove_en.asp">Council's website</a>. Any response by Independent Counsel
will also be made available on the Council's website.
After hearing all submissions, the Council will prepare a recommendation
to the Minister of Justice, indicating whether Justice Cosgrove should be
removed from office for any of the reasons set out in section 65(2) of the
Judges Act. In accordance with Canada's Constitution, a judge may only be
removed from office through a joint resolution of Parliament.
The Canadian Judicial Council is composed of the chief justices and
associate chief justices of Canada's superior courts. Information about the
Council, including documents related to the Inquiry Committee in this matter,
can be found on the Council's website: www.cjc.gc.ca
The Inquiry Committee that reviewed the conduct of Justice Cosgrove is
composed of three judicial members, appointed by the Canadian Judicial
Council, and two senior lawyers, appointed by the Minister of Justice. The
members of the Committee are:
- The Honourable Lance Finch, Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal for
British Columbia (Chairperson);
- The Honourable Michael MacDonald, Chief Justice of the Nova Scotia
Court of Appeal;
- The Honourable Allan Wachowich, Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's
Bench of Alberta;
- John P. Nelligan, Q.C., Barrister and Solicitor, Ottawa, Ontario; and
- Kirby Chown, Barrister and Solicitor, Toronto, Ontario.
Mr Earl Cherniak, Q.C., of the firm Lerners, is the Independent Counsel
regarding this matter. 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, and to respond to any further representations
made to Council by the judge. Justice Cosgrove is represented by Chris Paliare
of the firm Paliare Roland Barristers.
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 Senior
General Counsel, (613) 288-1566 ext. 301