Monday, December 10, 2012

The Canadian Justice Review Board a lame duck toothless tiger?

Good Day Readers:

In CyberSmokeBlog's previous posting, Creeping Sabourinism contributor Exempli Gratia sent the following link which after closer examination is really quite extraordinary and worth reproducing.
February 4, 2005
Press Release

After reviewing the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) annual report, The Canadian Justice Review Board (CJRB) has sent a letter to Sheila Fraser, Auditor General of Canada. In the letter, the CJRB suggests that the Auditor take a hard look at how the CJC conducts business. The annual report from the CJC is normally released in August, but this year it did not surface until December 2004. Unlike standard professional format employed over the past 30 years, the informal 2003-2004 publication abounds in abstract photography but lacks substance, says the CJRB. In particular this year's report omits any financial statement.

In addition to bringing the omission of a financial statement to the attention of the Auditor General, the CJRB letter includes exhibits that suggest that the CJC Executive Director Norman Sabourin does not follow the rules. Written into its mandate, the CJC states that even if a complaint is without foundation, so long as it is in writing and names a specific judge the Council will investigate the matter. Therefore, Mr. Sabourin's notion that a complaint is "an abuse of the complaints process" is untenable. More importantly, by failing to record a complaint as such, Mr. Sabourin can skew the statistics and grossly overstate the level of public satisfaction with our judiciary.

Since the CJC consists of many of the same people as in the Superior Court Judges Association (comprised of Judges of the Superior Court), current CJRB Chairman David Kahn says, "If the Superior Court rules in favour of Justice Cosgrove (and the Association) and finds that the CJC stifles judicial independence with its doctrine of conformity to political correctness or if it finds that the CJC cannot constitutionally investigate judges, it would logically suggest that the CJC has become redundant. Inevitably, the suspicion arises that the CJC is manoeuvring to stealthily carve out some sort of new mandate for itself.

In September 2003, the CJRB expressed public concern that the CJC is far too secretive. "The judges are paid out of the public purse and they are preforming a public function in a public place. Given those things, people have a right to know what is going on within the judiciary. One thing that we think is important is to let judges and other people in the judicial system know that they are being looked at and scrutinized." (emphasis ours)

CSB was unable to view the CJRB's letter to former Auditor General of Canada Sheila Fraser that triggered the above Press Release. It's only available to "Associates" who must pay a $50 fee for the privilege.

After such a fast start CyberSmokeBlog wondered what's the Board's mission statement, goal and Board of Directors look like?

Mission Statement

To publicize important judicial activities and their impact on Canadian society and to advocate for every person the fundamental right to receive from the courts non-political decisions that are based on established law.


To provide the means by which your views will be heard.

Board of Directors

Here's where it gets interesting. There are 14 - 11 males and 3 females. Unlike the Canadian Judicial Council with it's almost pathological fear of layperson involvement in its "Public" Inquiries, 8 Directors are non-lawyers the remainder drawn from the ranks of the legal profession.

If you scan the site ( it's chock full of interesting information so the question remains, why is it virtually unknown to Canadians? Among the interesting mix of individuals who form its Board perhaps there's need for a marketer - the site per se has a clunky, first generation appearance about it. CyberSmokeBlog has been in touch by one reader who contacted the CJRB and while they received an acknowledgement it did not offer to assist or suggest anyone who might help.

We are also sending a copy of this posting to Wallace G. Craig a retired (2001) Provincial British Columbia Court Judge and the the only Director whose e-mail address is listed.
One would have thought the Canadian Justice Review Board would have had a lot to say about the taxpayer dollar burning Douglas "Public" Inquiry or RoadKill Radio's Drive For Justice seeking a Parliamentary Inquiry into the conduct of British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Mary M. Koenigsberg but to date silence.

Is the CJRB a good concept badly implemented?

Clare L. Pieuk

Norman Sabourin
Executive Director/Senior General Counsel
Canadian Judicial Council

George K. Macintosh
Inquiry Counsel
Douglas Inquiry
Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP

Wallace G. Craig
Director, Canadian Justice Review Board

Note: Any responses received from those on the distribution list will be published in their entirety. 


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