Monday, June 11, 2012

What we don't understand?

Good Day Readers:

You can call CyberSmokeBlog stupid but we're not Philadelphia lawyers so perhaps someone can answer our questions:

(1) On May 15 of this year the Council released a 41-page document entitled, Ruling of the Inquiry Committee concerning the Honourable Lori Douglas with respect to certain Preliminary Issues. At page 40 paragraph 107 it stated:

[107] Independent Counsel is to provide notice of allegations to the Committee and Judge's Counsel by 6:00 p.m.Central Standard Time, May 18 and subsequently to any other parties granted standing

Background: Independent Counsel is Mr. Guy J. Prate from Borden Ladner Gervais. Counsel for Associate Chief Douglas Lori Douglas is Sheila Block and Molly Reynolds from Torys LLP. Counsel to the Inquiry Committee is George K. Macintosh, Q.C. from Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP. In addition, Mr. Ed Ratushny, Q.C. is listed as a Consultant to the Committee.

After addressing the Review Panel on May 19th complainant Alex Chapman was granted funding to retain counsel to assist in preparation of a submission requesting intervener standing. A young lady who has appeared before ACJ Douglas in a child custody case also spoke to the Inquiry Committee. She was advised that she would have to submit a written application if it was her intention to seek standing. According to out latest information she will be filing such.

Finally, CyberSmokeBlog, which had earlier submitted a written application, successfully argued it should be granted leave to re-submit because the CJC lacked full disclosure, that is to say, The Notice of Allegations had yet to be distributed. Applicants will have 10-days after its availability to file their documents. Counsel for both sides will then be given 5-days to present their arguments in writing to Inquiry Counsel Macintosh who will then advise applicants accordingly.

Notice there is no mention made of a right to appeal should an applicant be denied.

Note: The verbatim comments of the three individuals can be found in the transcript of the May 19th pre-Inquiry hearing now posted on the CJC's website.  

Question: What is taking so long? At the pre-Inquiry hearing held in the Federal Court of Canada's Winnipeg  courtroom on May 19th, it is our understanding Alberta Chief Justice Catherine Fraser who chaired the meeting asked Independent Counsel and Counsel for ACJ Douglas to agree upon and submit a Notice of Allegations by Friday, May 25th. This was subsequently moved to Tuesday May 29th. At time of writing it has yet to be released.

As an aside, we were recently contacted by a reporter (June 8th) asking if we had received a copy of The Notice of Allegations. They advised Mr. Chapman has yet to receive same.

Background: At page 41 paragraphs 108 and 109:

[108] Written submissions by all parties with standing with respect to Complaint 2, are due by June 7

Question: Has a hearing already been held and decisions rendered on those granted standing with respect to Complaint 2? Did said individual(s) tender written submissions by June 7?

Background: At page 41 paragraph 109 of the aforementioned document:

[109] Complaint 2 is to be provided to Counsel to the Committee forthwith but will not be seen by him or by the Committee subject to the Committee's ruling of this complaint.

Question: This statement appears to be ambiguous and confusing. What is the correct interpretation:

(a) Counsel to the Inquiry Committee (George Macintosh) and the Inquiry Committee will not see Complaint 2 until after Alex Chapman's Complaint 1 has been ruled upon?

(b) Upon the unsealing of Complaint 2 the Inquiry Committee will then decide if it has merit? In other words, could it be the subject of a second separate and distinct Inquiry in which layperson advocates can apply for intervener standing?


The Canadian Judicial Council's procedures, at least to date, have been confused and confusing.

Clare L. Pieuk


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