It is said that by adhering to ethical principles judges can maintain their independence and can follow the ancient charge Moses gave to his judges in Deuteronomy:
... Hear the causes between your brethen and judge righteously between every man and his brother and the stranger that is with him.
Ye shall not respect person in judgment;
but ye shall hear the small as well as the great;
For the judgment is God's;
and for the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it...
The above principle unfortunately no longer is adhered by the judges in Canada and the USA.
For example, Madam Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin states on the Supreme Court of Canada website that:
... The judge does not have all the answers.
The judge is not a high priest with a direct line to heaven, down which the right answers come tumbling.
The judge is a human being.
She is learned in the law.
She possesses, we hope, qualities of experience, patience, empathy, character and sound judgment.
But she is nevertheless a human being, exercising a human function.
Further Madam Chief Justice McLachlin states:
Why then do we ask judges to resolve difficult legal issues our society throws up?
Because, quite simply, the issues must be resolved.
When legal disputes arise, we must be able to resolve them and get on with our business, or governance, or whatever the activity is.
"In a democracy, citizens are entitled to bring their disputes and claims before an impartial arbiter with full confidence;
the judge will decide the issue impartially, without fear or favour".
"Judges are - and must remain - independent of political and social pressures"
Former Justice Mary Southin of the B.C. Court of Appeal, reluctantly retired from the bench on October 13, 2006, at the mandatory age of 75. She was interviewed by Ian Mulgrew of the Vancouver Sun and during the interview, Southin J. said: .
"Try to order your life so you never see the inside of a courtroom. It's a very expensive place to visit."
Court of Appeal Judge Mary Southin retiring
In effect what Southin J.A. should have said to Ian Mulgrew is that:
"The inside of the Courts need order because they are not independent from the Executive Branch of Government and as a result those trying to obtain relief in an institution, which is supposed to settle disputes about the lawful exercise of government powers, will only be disillusioned and it shall be very costly at the end
The Myth of Judical Independence:
In a legal book entitled "The Law, Politics and the Judicial Process in Canada
", it says that:
Although judicial independence is accepted as one of the most important principles in the Canadian constitution, its implications for judges and those having dealings with them are far from clear.
The incidents related below illustrates this point:
, Mr. Justice Marc Beauregard of the Quebec superior court brought suit against the federal government for allegedly violating judicial independence by forcing judges to pay into pension fund.
, the deputy Attorney General of British Columbia telephoned a judge to ask whether he would transfer himself to another court to avoid having to decide on a constitutional issue. A subsequent inquiry confirmed a violation of judicial independence.
, Mr. Justice Thomas Berger of the British Columbia Supreme Court publicly criticized the constitutional accord worked out by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and nine provincial premiers for disregarding the rights of native peoples and Quebeckers.
Another judge complained to the Canadian Judicial Council, a body composed of approximately 40 Chief Justices which is responsible for investigating complaints about federally-appointed judges, that Berger had violated judicial independence. This complaint led to a full investigation by the council.
, the lawyer Walter Valente, who had been charged with dangerous driving, claimed that the judges in Ontario Provincial Courts are not independent, and the Provincial Court judge hearing the case disqualified himself until the issue could be determined by a higher court.
, five Nova Scotia Court of Appeal judges acquitted Donald Marshall, Jr. of murder, but he had already spent 11 years in jail.
The Court blamed Marshall for having contributed in large measure
to his original wrongful conviction.
royal commission into the Marshall affair criticized the appeal judges for blaming Marshall. The Attorney General Of Nova Scotia then requested the Canadian Judicial Council to inquire into the conduct of the judges. As a result of the enquiry, in 1990, the Council established guidelines as to when judicial misconduct is so serious as to warrant removal and justify interference with the sanctity of judicial independence
, the Chief Justice of the Quebec Superior Court brought a suit against the government to prevent the provincial Judicial Minister from firing some of the judges support staff. The Chief Justice felt that the staff reductions, if carried out, would violate judicial independence.
, Ontarios Attorney General, Ian Scott, decided to proceed with major reforms of the system of court administration in the province.
These reforms included a number of changes on the case management procedures which previous Ontario governments had been unwilling to proceed with the fear of violating judicial independence.
Some would argue that these incidents show that Canadian judges do not yet have enough independence; others that they have too much however the truth is:
Judges are bound to the Executive Branch --They are employees of the Executive, appointed by the Executive, paid by the Executive, and Judged by themselves, therefore making them incapable of being impartial decision makers-
The Appointed process is not independent, it is the Government of the day that appoints the Judges.
In effect, in 2004,
the Attorney General of Ontario
Mr. Michael Bryant
had requested in 2004 from the Canadian Judicial Council
an inquiry as a result of a 1999 ruling by Justice Paul Cosgrove
of the Ontario Superior Court, in which he stayed murder charges in a notorious Ottawa case. The veteran judge made numerous findings of misconduct against the police and the Crown that were overturned by the Court of Appeal in 2003. It ordered a new trial and sharply criticized Cosgrove.
A judicial review was conducted by a special panel of the judicial council, chaired by British Columbia Chief Justice Lance Finch,
in which he upheld section 63(1) of the Judges Act. In the decision it noted that the power is restricted to only the most serious cases
and it is unlikely an attorney general will resort to it lightly
of the act grants provincial attorneys general the right to order an inquiry into the conduct of Superior Court judges, which could lead to their removal from the bench.
In October 2005
, the Federal Court of Canada ruled in favour of Judge Cosgrove, who had challenged the power of Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant to bypass the normal investigation process when complaining to the Canadian Judicial Council.
Whereas lawyers for the attorney general argued Mr. Bryant was acting as a guardian of the public interest
, Judge Cosgroves lawyer, argued that the power of attorneys general to force automatic inquiries could have a chilling effect
on judges who fear their jobs could be on the line if they rule against the government, especially when ruled against the government.
On December 4, 2008
a committee of the Canadian Judicial Council found grounds for recommending to the federal justice minister that Cosgrove be removed from office.
No one wants to report that 24 judges voted for impeachment and 12 voted against. Both Ontario and PEI were unanimously against impeachment.
Click on the following chart which will show that the decision made to remove Cosgrove was not unanimous, as alleged by the newspaper and by the Canadian Judicial Council:
12 Judges Against Does Not Make For a Unanimous Report
The Canadian Judicial Council allegedly met to consider the committee's recommendation and, on March 31, 2009 formally recommended to Parliament that Cosgrove be removed saying that We find that Justice Cosgrove has failed in the execution of the duties of his judicial office and that public confidence in his ability to discharge those duties in the future has been irrevocably lost
The decision also stated that We find that there is no alternative measure to removal that would be sufficient to restore public confidence in the judge in this case
This was the second time in the councils history that it has recommended the removal of a judge. The same recommendation was made in 1996 in regards to then Justice Jean Bienvenue who resigned rather than wait for Parliament to decide his fate.
On April 2, 2009
, Cosgrove resigned from the bench. If he had not done so, and had also not taken the option of making an application to the Federal Court for a judicial review of the finding, the House of Commons and Senate would have had to vote on whether to remove him from office, something which has never happened since Canadian confederation.
Judge Bouck on Cosgrove
Canadian Judicial Council Press Releases on Judge Cosgrove
Unfortunately, Justice Paul Cosgrove was a victim of his own system. Whereas he applied the law, more precisely, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
, the youngest A-G ever in Ontario thought that Justice Cosgrove's allegiance was in the wrong place, as it should have been to the Crown.
Subsequently, Judges are appointed by our leaders of the day.
It is our leaders that have a greater responsibility in picking judges that will be qualified
to follow the law and not distort the law, but we know that being qualified
is not a requisite.
We also know that our leaders, being from the human race, are not looking after the best interest of the people.
We know our leaders are chosen by popular vote, and they are chosen through their own self-promotion.
We also know that our leaders are chosen at random, or because they aspire to the position of leadership, or even because they appear to be natural leaders
Being gifted however is not a prerequisite for leadership, as most who are elected are gifted in some form or another but not necessarily qualified
for the job.
Certainly, leadership in Canada does not exist nor in any other countries, therefore the choice made by our leaders to appoint and/or elect judges is simply a case of whether the lawyer will be a faithfull servant to the Executive Branch.
The rule of law applies only under some circumstances.
The Rule of Law
The Letter of Paul to Titus
Many self-represented litigants go before the court and get hammered by judges. One of many is Chris Budgell
In October of 2010, Chris submitted a Complaint of the Canadian Judicial Council ("CJC"), outlining how judges refused to abide by the rule of law in his own case:
Chris Budgell's Complaint to the CJC
Former Judge Andree Ruffo
, another victim of the system she belonged too, was punished by our unwise
leaders, including the judicary, for looking after the best interest of the public and of the children.
Ruffo J. did in fact adhere to the ethical principles of judges, by maintaining her independence
and showed wisdom in her decisions and for that she was fired by the government.
Following is an article that shows what happens to judges', who dare speak out agaisnt social injustice -- On May 17, 2006, Madam Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin
vetoed to block Judge Ruffo's Appeal at the Supreme Court of Canada, which basically means that the Executive
Branch will not tolerate any judges siding with children and apply the laws as they know it:
Panel recommends judge be removed from the bench
'It's not going to change me. I will not change
Allison Hanes, The Montreal Gazette
Published: Saturday, December 10, 2005
- True to form, maverick Quebec Court Justice Andree Ruffo remained defiant yesterday even as a scathing report by a panel of her peers recommended she be removed from the bench for breaking every rule in the book in two decades as a judge.
The outspoken critic of inadequate social policy and unwavering champion of children's rights vowed to fight all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada while categorically refusing to be silenced.
"It's not going to change me. I will not change," said Judge Ruffo, minutes after the report was made public. "My whole life for the last 20 years has been dedicated to protecting children."
A five-judge panel of the Quebec Court of Appeal was unanimous in its stinging rebuke to Judge Ruffo, 63, saying she is hiding behind her advocacy work to deflect blame for her failings on the job, which included 12 reprimands in 15 years.
The panel was convened to investigate a litany of allegations against Judge Ruffo and make a recommendation on her future tenure to the Quebec justice minister. He alone has the power to fire her -- but not while her case is still before the courts.
"We must not confuse the causes Judge Ruffo has defended for more than 20 years with her disciplinary file," states the report signed by Justices Paul-Arthur Gendreau, Therese Rousseau-Houle, Jacques Chamberland, France Thibault and Pierrette Rayle.
"As valiant and popular as the former is, it does not allow us to ignore -- nor to justify or excuse -- the latter," it continues.
Removing a judge from the bench has been done only once before in Quebec when Richard Therrien fought all the way to the highest court and lost after failing to disclose his FLQ past.
The Ottawa Citizen 2005
Click on Judge Ruffo
Click on Judge Ruffo 2
Top court won't intervene to block removal of Quebec judge Andree Ruffo
18 May, 10:32 AM
OTTAWA (CP) -
The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to get involved in the case of Quebec youth court Judge Andree Ruffo, who is facing removal from the bench after a dozen reprimands in 15 years.
In a decision released without comment Thursday, the high court refused to review a decision by Quebec Court of Appeal that recommended Ruffo's removal.
The 63-year-old judge has been a controversial figure or years for her outspoken criticism of provincial child welfare policy - she once sent two teenagers to the social service minister's office in Quebec City because there was no room for them in child-protection facilities.
Her views made her a hero to some, but others saw her as a loose cannon.
The latest complaint arose from an incident in which Ruffo allegedly met privately with a witness - a personal friend - to discuss a case on which she was sitting.
She has also faced criticism for speaking out publicly on other cases before her, appearing in a Via Rail television commercial and accepting a speaker's fee at a new-age medicine conference.
The final decision on whether to remove her from the bench is up to the provincial government.
In the meantime, judges like David Ramsay, of the Prince George Provincial Court, was embroiled in a sex scandal during his whole career. He was finally caught, charged and jailed for a couple of years. Read more on former judge David Ramsay on the next page