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Judicial discipline, Bill C-9, impartiality, transparency, complainant's rights, judicial independence, Canadian Judicial Council


Bill C-9 is the first significant legislative reform to the Judges Act in five decades. The goal of the legislation is to enhance public confidence in the administration of justice by modernizing the complaints and discipline regime for federally appointed judges. This essay is a contextual analysis of Bill C-9. The authors begin by outlining a conceptual framework which identifies eight public law goods that can guide an assessment of a complaints and discipline system. They then locate Bill C-9 in a historical context by identifying a crisis of legitimacy that had overtaken the Canadian Judicial Council by the early 2020’s. Having established this context the authors outline seven key strengths of the reform legislation. In a follow up essay entitled, “A Critical Analysis of Bill C-9,” the authors revisit the eight public goods identified in this essay and argue that the legislative reforms are vitiated by five significant weaknesses. The authors conclude that Bill C-9, despite some improvements, reveals a failure of nerve on the part of its proponents and therefore it is unlikely to generate the improved public confidence that is central to the legitimacy of the Canadian judiciary as a democratic institution.


This is a pre-print edited, post-peer reviewed version of the Contribution accepted for publication in The Advocates’ Quarterly. Reproduced by permission of Thomson Reuters Canada Limited.