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Can I file a complaint against a Canada judge?

Litigants who feel that the judge presiding over their case acted inappropriately may wish to file a complaint against the judge. Before moving forward with such a complaint, however, it must be determined whether the issue relates to the judge's conduct or a decision made by the judge.

Disagreements over a particular judge's decision will need to be brought up in appeals court through the appeals process. Meanwhile, issues relating to the conduct of a judge need to be taken up with the court.

For example, if the problem involves a Supreme Court of Canada judge's conduct, a letter needs to be drafted and addressed to the Canadian Judicial Council in Ottawa. In the letter, the problems related to the judge's conduct must be clearly described.

If the complaint relates to the conduct of a non-Supreme Court of Canada judge, then it will be necessary to contact the staff of the court where the judge presides. By contacting the staff of that court, it can be determined whether it is more appropriate to bring the matter up with the Canadian Judicial Council, or with territorial or provincial officials.

Civil litigation proceedings certainly do not always go as planned, and issues can be particularly difficult when a judge makes a bad decision that is not in alignment with the law. It can be even more unsettling if a judge comports him or herself in an inappropriate fashion that affects the outcome of one's legal proceedings. Fortunately, as in all areas of the law, there is a legally appropriate manner in which to deal with these kinds of issues.

Source: Supreme Court of Canada, "Supreme Court of Canada: Frequently Asked Questions," accessed Nov. 20, 2015

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