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Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick
Status of Legislation - First Reading Bill
An Act to Amend the Small Claims Act
 
Legislature :
54
Session :
5
Bill No. :
39
Member :
Hon. Green
First Reading :
2003-3-12
Second Reading :
2003-3-13
Committee of the Whole :
2003-3-14
Amended :
Third Reading :
2003-3-18
Royal Assent :
2003-4-11
Download PDF :
  Bill 39         
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Text of Bill :
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick, enacts as follows:



1                           The Small Claims Act, chapter S-9.1 of the Acts of New Brunswick, 1997, is amended by adding after section 21 the following:



COMPLAINTS PROCESS

Filing of complaint of misconduct

21.1(1)          In this section, sections 21.2 to 21.7 and the regulations



"complaint" means a complaint of misconduct;



"complaints committee" means a committee appointed under section 21.4;



"misconduct" means



(a)               conduct unbecoming an adjudicator,



(b)               neglect of duty by an adjudicator,



(c)                inability or incapacity of an adjudicator to perform his or her duties, or



(d)               having been placed by one's conduct or otherwise in a position incompatible with the due execution of one's duties as an adjudicator.



21.1(2)          Any person may make a complaint to the Registrar alleging misconduct by an adjudicator.



21.1(3)          A complaint shall be in writing and signed by or on behalf of the complainant and shall include the following information:



(a)               name, address and telephone number of the person making the complaint;



(b)               name of the person against whom the complaint is made;



(c)                the date, time and place of the circumstances from which the complaint arises; and



(d)               as much detail as possible about the conduct of the adjudicator against whom the complaint is made.



21.1(4)          The conduct of an adjudicator may be dealt with under this Act even though the conduct occurred before the commencement of this section.



Assessment of complaint by Registrar

21.2(1)          Upon receiving a complaint, the Registrar shall review and assess the complaint and may



(a)               dismiss the complaint, if the Registrar is of the opinion that there is no basis for the complaint, and if a more appropriate avenue should be pursued by the complainant, advise the complainant of that fact, or



(b)               forward a copy of the complaint to the adjudicator against whom the complaint is made, asking for a written response from the adjudicator within 14 days after receipt of the complaint.



21.2(2)          A copy of a complaint forwarded under paragraph (1)(b) shall be deemed to have been received by the adjudicator 5 days after it has been mailed.



21.2(3)          Nothing in this section prevents the Registrar from obtaining additional information from the complainant or any other person if the Registrar is of the opinion that such information is required before acting under subsection (1).



21.2(4)          Where the Registrar forwards a complaint to an adjudicator under paragraph (1)(b), the Registrar shall notify the complainant and advise the complainant as to the period within which a response is to be made by the adjudicator.



Determination of complaint by Registrar

21.3(1)          After the period referred to in paragraph 21.2(1)(b) has elapsed, the Registrar may



(a)               resolve the complaint, if the Registrar obtains the agreement of the complainant and the adjudicator,



(b)               dismiss the complaint, or



(c)                forward the complaint, stating the grounds for the complaint to the Chief Justice of The Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick with the recommendation for a formal review.



21.3(2)          Nothing in subsection (1) prevents the Registrar from making inquiries of the complainant, the adjudicator against whom the complaint was made and others as appropriate, about the subject matter of the complaint before acting under subsection (1).



21.3(3)          The Registrar shall notify the complainant and the adjudicator against whom the complaint was made of the Registrar's decision under paragraph (1)(b) or (c) without delay.



Appointment of complaints committee

21.4(1)          After receiving a copy of the complaint referred to in paragraph 21.3(1)(c), the Chief Justice of The Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick shall appoint a complaints committee which shall be composed of



(a)               a judge of The Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick, who shall be the chairperson of the committee,



(b)               an adjudicator, and



(c)                one of the persons from the panel appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council under subsection (2).



21.4(2)          The Lieutenant-Governor in Council shall appoint a panel of 6 persons for the purpose of a providing members who may be appointed to serve on a complaints committee.



21.4(3)          The remuneration and expenses for the members of a complaints committee appointed under paragraphs (1)(b) and (c) shall be determined by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council.



21.4(4)          A person who is appointed to a complaints committee continues to remain a member of the committee until the committee completes all matters with respect to a charge of misconduct against an adjudicator, notwithstanding that the member's appointment as a judge, adjudicator or under subsection (2) has expired or otherwise terminated.



21.4(5)          Three members of a complaints committee constitute a quorum, and a decision of a majority of the members is the decision of the committee.



21.4(6)          The Chief Justice shall, after the last person has been appointed to the committee, forward to the committee the complaint against an adjudicator for its determination.



Powers of complaints committee

21.5(1)          A complaints committee and each member of the committee have all the powers of a commissioner appointed under the Inquiries Act.



21.5(2)          Subject to this Act, a complaints committee may establish its own procedures.



Hearing by complaints committee

21.6(1)          Within 60 days after the appointment of the last member of the complaints committee, the committee shall commence a hearing to adjudicate the complaint.



21.6(2)          The parties to the hearing are the complainant and the adjudicator against whom the complaint has been made.



21.6(3)          Each party to the hearing may present evidence at the hearing, cross-examine witnesses and may be represented by counsel.



21.6(4)          A complaints committee may hear and accept any relevant evidence even though it is not admissible under the rules applying to trials in The Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick.



21.6(5)          A complaints committee may, on proof that it has given notice of the hearing to the adjudicator against whom the complaint is made, proceed with the hearing in the absence of the adjudicator, and decide on the complaint in the same manner as if the adjudicator were present.



21.6(6)          A hearing shall be held in private.



Decision of complaints committee

21.7(1)          After completing the hearing, the complaints committee may



(a)               dismiss the complaint, or



(b)               find that there has been misconduct by the adjudicator.



21.7(2)          A complaints committee shall file a copy of its decision and reasons with the Registrar, who shall without delay forward a copy to



(a)               the adjudicator against whom the complaint was laid, and



(b)               the complainant.



21.7(3)          Where a complaints committee makes a finding under paragraph (1)(b), it may, after giving the adjudicator an opportunity to make representations on the matter,



(a)               issue a reprimand to the adjudicator, or



(b)               recommend to the Lieutenant-Governor in Council that the appointment of the adjudicator be revoked.



21.7(4)          The decision of the complaints committee under subsection (3) shall be filed with the Registrar, who shall forward a copy of the decision without delay to



(a)               the complainant,



(b)               the adjudicator against whom a charge of misconduct was upheld, and



(c)                the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, if a recommendation is made under paragraph (3)(b).



21.7(5)          The decision of the complaints committee is final and shall not be appealed, but is subject to judicial review.



Revocation of appointment of adjudicator

21.8(1)          Where a complaints committee recommends the revoking of the appointment of an adjudicator, the Lieutenant-Governor in Council shall, on receipt of the recommendation, revoke the adjudicator's appointment.



21.8(2)          Where an adjudicator is removed from office, the Minister may release the results of the deliberations of the complaints committee if the Minister considers it in the public interest to do so.



Prohibited action

21.9(1)          No action for damages or other proceeding shall be instituted against the Registrar, Deputy Registrar, a complaints committee or any member or officer of it or any person acting under the authority of the complaints committee for any act done in good faith in the execution or intended execution of the committee's or the person's duty.



21.9(2)          Subsection (1) does not apply to prevent an application for judicial review.



2                           Section 29 of the Act is amended by adding after paragraph (k) the following:



(k.1)          respecting the time and manner within which complaints of misconduct are to be dealt with,



3                           This Act or any provision of this Act comes into force on a day or days to be fixed by proclamation.



EXPLANATORY NOTES



Section 1



A process for dealing with complaints of misconduct against an adjudicator is established.



Section 2



Regulation-making authority is amended.



Section 3



Commencement provision.

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Legend
* Private Bill
** Bill referred to Standing Committee on Law Amendments
+ Private Member's Public Bill
++ Motion for second reading defeated
+++ Debate at second reading adjourned
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