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COMPLAINING ABOUT JUDGES

 

Click here The Canadian Judicial Council is supposed to deal with complaints about judges. It is unfortunately a do nothing organization which is run by judges for judges. In the entire history of Canada less then ten judges have been removed for cause. As always, if you have a valid complaint, you should still try to get a fair hearing. You will not, but you should still try.

Judges across Canada are complaining about being criticized, as if, they have some sort of royal perogative and are above the rest of us. There is no doubt that many judges believe themselves to be superior beings. Criticism is long overdue.

 

It is time that we examine judges and their many foibles. Judges are human beings and come in wide ranges of competence. I have seen good judges having bad days on the bench and bad judges having good days.

 

As one who has spent hundreds of days in courts and observed thousands of cases, I can assure you that judges are in need of severe criticism. More importantly, we need to create a mechanism to publicly review judges' performance. We also need to replace the ineffectual judicial councils with a forum which will discipline and remove judges where needed. The existing judicial councils erroneously believe their function is to protect judges from the public, not the public from judges.

 

I have seen some judges drunk on the bench, some sleeping during hearings. I have seen most judges at times indulge in violent temper tantrums, and be rude, arrogant, condescending and cruel to lawyers and citizens appearing before them

 

I have seen many judges routinely ignore the law and the evidence. I have seen incompetent judges, sexist judges and racist judges.

 

The Honourable Mr. Justice Douglas Henry Carruthers has said: "Sometimes you get judges who set themselves up as gurus in one branch of the law, criminal law often, and they start making decisions before the lawyers have even given their pitch." (source: JUDGES by Jack Batten pages 5 and 6, Macmillen of Canada 1986 ISBN 0-77`5-9719-0)

 

This senior, long serving, currently active judge of the Ontario Court of Justice, General Division, has spoken the chilling truth. He can be found presiding at Osgoode Hall in Toronto. Ironically I have personally heard him launch into a racist tirade and other lawyers have told me he is regarded as a racist.

 

Lawyers have told me horror stories about the aberrant behaviour of judges. There is a judge in Ontario lawyers call Dr Death. However lawyers all know that to be seen publicly criticizing a judge is professional suicide. Vindictive judges may take their revenge on the lawyers clients.

 

We have had judges on our benches who are convicted criminals, including even a convicted FLQ terrorist.

 

How dare judges complain that they are being criticized? Ontario ( and probably all other provinces ) has found it necessary to set up alcohol and addiction counselling services for our judges. What does that suggest?

 

Judges operate in open court, but the public seldom attends. The media generally refrains from ever commenting on judges deportment or competence. In practice, courts are the private feifdoms of judges, many of whom seem to believe that they are infallible. Some make the despicable Judge Judy look polite, calm and reasonable.

 

My position is clear. We need to take remake the entire system of judicial appointments and performance reviews so that judges who develop the common judicial disease of megalomania, can be brought to heel or removed.

 

Will the system change? Not likely. The public sees the judiciary as an important trash removal system and do not care if innocent people routinely get swept away. That is they do not care until it happens to them, and then it is too late.

 

A major overhaul of the legal industry is required to bring the administration of justice back under control and accessable to those who do not have the price of justice in Canada. Civil cases take years to be tried and cost an average of $38,000 in Ontario. This is absurd. Family cases drag on for years, often until the children graduate from university, and financially and emotionally ruin the parents. Judges refuse to enforce many of their own orders. This is not justice. This is judicial fraud. This is a crime.

 

There is no accountability in the legal system. Until there is, nothing can change. You pay your money and you get taken.

 

J Kirby Inwood

President, CanLaw

 

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