Canadian Judicial Council wants greater range of disciplinary options for judges
Suggested punishments include compelling a judge to apologize, undergo counselling and suspension
The Canadian Judicial Council is asking for more flexibility when it comes to deciding how a federally appointed judge should be disciplined for misconduct.
The council is recommending amendments to the Judicial Act to give it the formal authority to impose range of remedial measures or sanctions in cases where removal from the bench would be too harsh.
The council says Canadians expect judges to face consequences if they engage in misconduct, so it rejects the idea that it should ignore any transgression that falls short of the threshold required for removal.
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The proposed range of options would include forcing a judge to apologize, undergo counselling or be suspended without pay for up to 30 days.
The council is also asking for a change in the way it conducts disciplinary hearings so that it functions more like a courtroom, with a lawyer presenting all the evidence against the judge in question, and that the decision of a judicial discipline committee be final, subject only to a right of appeal.
The recommendations come with the council in deliberations following a disciplinary hearing for Federal Court Justice Robin Camp, who was a provincial court judge in Calgary when he asked a sex assault complainant why she didn't keep her knees together.