A complainant wrote to the Council alleging that the judge hearing her divorce case was biased against her and in conflict of interest because of an alleged relationship with a family member of the opposing party. She asked that the Council intervene to have a different judge assigned to her case

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A complainant wrote to the Council alleging that the judge hearing her divorce case was biased against her and in conflict of interest because of an alleged relationship with a family member of the opposing party. She asked that the Council intervene to have a different judge assigned to her case.

After a careful review of the complaint, it was determined that the allegation of bias on the part of the judge was unsubstantiated, since the complainant provided no concrete information in support of her allegation. The complainant’s personal opinion or disagreement with certain orders made by the judge are not evidence of bias. The Supreme Court of Canada, in the matter of Wewaykum Indian Band v. Canada, stated that impartiality is the fundamental qualification of a judge and the core attribute of the judiciary. It is the key to our judicial process and must be presumed.

As for the complainant’s allegation of a relationship and ongoing communication between the judge and a family member of the opposing party, the Council found that it did not warrant further consideration, since the allegation was vague and based on simple hearsay or personal belief.

With respect to the complainant’s request that her case be assigned to another judge, the Council has no authority in administrative matters relating to courts, nor does it have any authority in the assignment of judges to cases or in matters of recusal. Only the judge hearing a case may decide, on a properly presented motion, whether he or she should recuse himself or herself.

Since none of the allegations raised any issue of judicial misconduct, the complainant’s allegations were dismissed and she was informed that her complaint did not warrant further consideration.

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