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



Julie Macfarlane of National Self-Represented Litigants Project named to Top 25 Most Influential legal professionals in Canada

Prof. Julie Macfarlane

Congratulations to University of Windsor law professor Julie Macfarlane who is named one of Canada’s 25 Most Influential legal professionals by Canadian Lawyer Magazine.

Julie works tirelessly for for the rights of self-represented litigants and all Canadians to have access to justice – against a system that is set up and predisposed to favour those who are able to afford lawyers.


Julie Macfarlane, Denise Barrie, Chief Justice Michael MacDonald; shining stars of CBC’s Self-Representing Litigants special

“I think that the huge rise in the number of self-represented litigants in recent years is in some ways the great undiscussed issue of the legal system… More than half the people in Canadian family courts are there without lawyers…”

“We have a procedure in the legal system which has been around for a very long time, called ‘summary judgment’. It’s a way of forestalling or ending a case prematurely before it continues through the processes using up judicial and legal time. We found that there has been a huge rise in the number of summary judgment cases in the last ten years, and that most of those cases are now being brought where there’s a lawyer on one side and a self-represented litigant on the other.”

Julie Macfarlane, National Self-Representing Litigants Project; quoted in CBC’s The National feature The New Litigants #TheNewLitigants

“Sit down and SHUT UP!”

by Donald Best

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Over fifty percent of people appearing before Canadian family courts are self-represented litigants, yet according to CBC’s New Year’s Eve special The New Litigants, judges are still telling citizens representing themselves before the courts to “SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!”

Nova Scotia Chief Justice Michael MacDonald has a different idea. He instituted an educational program for self-represented litigants. Justice MacDonald is a leader who deserves praise.

The legal system is the good ship Titanic; trying desperately to steer clear of the deadly iceberg named ‘Injustice’. The rudder has been put full port; but will the heading change in time?

The CBC special above is well worth 18 minutes of your time.

Donald Best