Distinguished law professor Dr. Julie Macfarlane: Canadian Judicial Council “little credibility, lacks transparency, disconnected from the public…”

CJC Executive Director Norman Sabourin summarily dismisses several hundred complaints each year without an investigation or inteviewing the complainant and without providing any reasons.

I couldn’t agree more with the Director of the National Self-Represented Litigants Project Dr. Julie Macfarlane’s assessment in her End of the Year blog: The State of A2J in Canada

“The tortuous debate over the removal of Robin Camp highlights the disconnect between the Canadian Judicial Council – which has sole statutory responsibility for holding judges accountable – and the public. The CJC continues to operate a complaints system that has little credibility, and lacks transparency (the sum total of the 2016/17 Annual Report posted on its website is 3 pages long). NSRLP would be delighted to work on designing a fair, transparent, 21st century system to process and evaluate complaints against judges, one that protects both the interests of the public and the independence of the judiciary (especially if we received a fraction of the CJC’s annual $1.5 million budget).” Dr. Julie Macfarlane, NSRLP

Dr. Julie Macfarlane

Although the Canadian Judicial Council publishes recommendations for judges on how to deal with self-represented litigants, the CJC itself implements NONE of its own recommendations in dealing with unrepresented or self-represented Canadians who complain about judges.

The Canadian Judicial Council typically whitewashes and defuses complaints against judges in any way it can. Its process and outcomes are so corrupted and predictable that it serves little purpose for Canadians to complain about a judge – no matter how egregious the judicial misconduct.

Donald Best
Barrie, Ontario, Canada




  • I agree that the CJC is an entirely poisoned chalice. It may have functioned to some degree at its inception, but its subsequent reinvention as Norm Sabourin’s personal vanity project has rendered it a stain on the judiciary that is concealed only by the veneer of legitimacy provided by the participation of chief judges from across the country. Not that I feel strongly about this or anything.

    I also feel strongly about Julie Macfarlane’s offer to help design a better evaluation process of judicial conduct. Julie Macfarlane is a professor of law, and no doubt an excellent one. Her initial work on the SRL phenomenon was indeed distinguished, very necessary, and brave.

    However, she is not an expert in systems or organizational design. This has been evident ever since she changed her modus operandi from that of researcher of SRLs to activist in pursuit of access-to-justice. Her recommendations are routinely not just beside the point, but also outright prejudicial to the achievement of her alleged objectives. She has begun building an empire around SRLs rather than helping them, and appears entirely unconscious of how she is building new barriers to justice rather than access, and becoming a piece of window dressing on the legal system: look, we are doing access to justice – see, we love Julie’s project. We give her all the best awards, and invite her to all the conferences. The NSRLP serves as a virtue-signalling device that excuses the system for doing nothing.

    Her suggestion that she or her project staff should contribute to a new judicial evaluation process is a job creation exercise. Neither she nor her team has the expertise necessary to do this. They are law and not systems people, and their core interest now has become to secure a continued flow of funding to sustain their jobs and create new ones. The relevance or outcome of their work no longer matters.

    I can only credit her here for articulating the problem, and for being open about her funding objective.

    • Who are you? And what are you doing to actively help SRLs and to bring the necessary changes needed desperately within the system of justice?

      • I assume that question is directed to me? In case it is, you can click on my name for a link to my blog, which has a bio. In brief, I’m a former SRL, now volunteering to support other SRLs, who also happens to have expertise in systems analysis and organizational change. Because of the coincidence of having these credentials, I have closely examined the access to justice initiatives being undertaken within the system, and offered input wherever internal functionaries have been open to it. I spend at least 40 hours per week on legal reform, one way or another. And you?

  • Here is actual proof to back up what Julie Mac Is stating about the CJC . Please share with ever one . Thank You


    (The link does not read right but will get you where the proof is .)