A group that oversees the quality of judicial service in the country is offering a series of recommendations that it says would improve the discipline process for federal judges.

The Canadian Judicial Council released the recommendations in a position paper on Wednesday and build on measures to improve efficiencies in the early screening process.

The recommendations include:

  • The authority to impose sanctions and remedian measures
  • Ensure any sanction or remedial process only takes place after independent decision making by individuals who are “one step removed” from everyday interaction with the judge
  • The ability to impose sanctions or remedial measure should be exercised through a Review Panel or Judicial Discipline Committee
  • The Judicial Committee should also possess the ability to suspend a judge, without pay but with benefits, for a period of 30 days
  • Any sanction imposed, including suspensions, may also be appealed to a CJC Appeal Tribunal

In the paper, the CJC also outlined a range of sanctions or remedial measures which should allow authority to:

  • Express concern to the judge about their conduct
  • Issue a private or public reprimand
  • Give a warning, including a warning about the consequences of future misconduct
  • Order the judge to apologize to the complainant or any other person
  • Order the judge to embark on specific measures including, but not limited to, counselling, coaching, treatment or training.

Council members are now looking forward to further engagement on these reforms to ensure that Canadians can trust the process by which concerns about judicial conduct are reviewed.

The CJC’s paper comes following the final arguments at a judicial inquiry involving Justice Robin Camp and an incident that took place while he was a Calgary provincial court judge in 2014.

The panel has to determine if Camp should be removed from the bench over comments he made to a sexual assault victim, questioning her morals and suggesting her attempts to fight off her attacker were feeble.