As Supreme Court justice faces complaint, bill would change handling of allegations

OTTAWA — A new law working its way through Parliament could soon change the process for handling allegations against judges — even as a Supreme Court justice remains on leave while a complaint against him is reviewed.

Justice Minister David Lametti says that if it passes, Bill C-9 would amend the Judges Act to create a new process for the Canadian Judicial Council to review misconduct allegations that are not serious enough to warrant a judge's removal.

The bill, which is currently being considered by the Senate, would also clarify the circumstances under which a judge can be removed, and change the way the council reports its recommendations to the minister.

The council announced Monday it is reviewing a complaint about the conduct of Supreme Court Justice Russell Brown, but it did not disclose the nature of the allegation.

Chief Justice Richard Wagner put Brown on leave at the beginning of February pending a review.

Wagner told the Canadian Bar Association last month that the prospective law would handle complaints "more effectively and efficiently."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2023.

The Canadian Press