March 22, 2019

Red Hill judicial probe: what happens next?

In the Hamilton Spectator, Eli S. Lederman shares his expert opinion regarding a judicial inquiry into Red Hill Valley Parkway.


Expert lawyer Eli Lederman also warned it could take "several months" just to find an available judge thanks to a chronic shortage of Ontario Superior Court justices.


Once the judge is appointed, "the municipality is stripped of its ability to control the inquiry," warned Lederman, who recommended against an inquiry for that reason.

He pointed to a judge's decision to expand the scope of a Toronto inquiry into a computer leasing scandal as the reason why the budget ballooned from $1 million to $11 million.

Lederman is helping council "scope" its list of investigation questions.


It's hard to estimate a cost until a judge has determined what, exactly, will be investigated. But Lederman said Hamilton's probe will cost a "minimum $2 million."


The city's lawyer did recommend appointing an auditor-general, ombudsman or external law firm instead. Lederman suggested a law firm could do the job for around $300,000 and within two to nine months.

But most councillors decided it was worth paying for the most transparent option: a judicial inquiry with public hearings and testimony. By comparison, ombudsman and auditor-general probes are conducted privately, with only the final report made public.