Lori Douglas facing new misconduct allegations

New allegations of misconduct have arisen in the long-running saga involving Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas.

Douglas, who’s already facing a sexual harassment and discrimination complaint, is now being questioned about her use of a “representational allowance,” which refers to the reimbursement of judges’ expenses incurred while travelling and representing the court. Judges in Douglas’ position are given an allowance of $10,000.

Chief Justice Glenn Joyal of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench brought questions surrounding Douglas’ representational allowance to the Canadian Judicial Council, which is now reviewing the complaint.

Once the vice chairman of the judicial conduct committee completes his initial review, he’ll either dismiss the complaint or refer it for a further review, says CJC communications director Johanna Laporte.

“The member of the judicial conduct committee will review the matter and will seek comments from the judge. Based on the information that he receives and after considering all points, [he] could make a decision that the matter is without substance and could close the matter at that point or [he] could see that perhaps he needs some advice from additional judges and could refer the matter to a review panel,” she says.

The inquiry into the initial complaint against Douglas has been at a standstill for months. It was launched by Alex Chapman, a client of Douglas’ husband, Winnipeg lawyer Jack King. The complaint accused King of showing Chapman nude Internet photos of Douglas performing sexual acts and pressured him to have sex with her.

In April, the Federal Court dismissed several motions brought forward by parties in the inquiry. However, the hearings in the case can’t move forward until the Federal Court schedules a date for the judicial review application filed by Douglas.

“The delays are not council’s doing,” Laporte tells Legal Feeds. “[Douglas] has sought judicial review on a number of fronts and that’s her right to do so. And so, we have to let the legal wheels turn as they do and allow for those matters to be heard before being able to resume.

“Council remains focused on this and we very much know that it’s in the public interest to try to move the matters in Federal Court along and to get some resolution either way so that council can continue with its public hearings,” she says.

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