MONTREAL -- In the midst of controversy, Quebec Chief Justice Nicole Duval Hesler is distancing herself from the Lord Reading Law Association, a collective of Jewish jurists who have taken a stance against Quebec's religious symbols ban.

The judge will no longer give her lecture on ‘Avoiding Conflict of Interest at the Court of Appeal' on Dec. 10 at the Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Westmount.

This comes after a complaint was filed against Duval Hesler, accusing her of having a bias against Bill 21.

On Nov. 26, she presided over an appeal to challenge to the law, which prohibits the wearing of religious symbols by people in positions of authority while on the job, including police, Crown prosecutors and teachers in elementary and high schools.

The formal complaint was filed by historian Frédéric Bastien, who argued she should recuse herself from hearing the challenge to Bill 21.

"The judge is helping to fund an organization that is actively opposed to a law that is the subject of a dispute in her court," he said.

Tuesday, the association insisted Duval Hesler was unaware that the Lord Reading Law Association had filed a memorandum.

“We mutually decided to postpone her presentation before the association,” President Gregory Azancot wrote in a statement.

The association announced its conference on Nov. 26, the same day of the appeal. It filed its memorandum two days later, on Nov. 28.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2019.