The BC Provincial Court has developed a reputation as a justice system leader in digital communications. Since 2015 it has expanded its communications initiatives to include social media and news articles posted regularly on its website.
The Court’s website offers an ever-expanding range of resources and information for self-represented litigants, media, lawyers, and the general public. See, for example, the ‘Resources’ pages for Criminal, Family and Small Claims cases.
eNews articles are posted weekly or bi-weekly on the Court’s website. They describe little-known aspects of the Court’s work, activities of judges and judicial justices, Court projects and procedures, and justice system resources. eNews articles have formed the basis of articles in British Columbia, national, online, and even international newspapers.
The Court uses Twitter to share information and engage with the public. In 2016 Chief Judge Crabtree hosted the first court Twitter Town Hall in Canada, #AskChiefJudge. Repeated in 2017, the events elicited widespread praise for the Chief Judge’s willingness to engage directly in two-way communication with the public and for the Court’s openness.
The Court’s Twitter account, @BCProvCourt, uses an informal, conversational tone and shares links to interesting articles, news, and cases, as well as to its own announcements, web pages, and eNews. Its approach has won praise, with followers describing the Court’s “passion for digital outreach” and “flair for blogging and Twitter engagement” and calling it “one of the best uses of Twitter by a public institution”.
The Court has published a visually appealing and readable Media Guide to the Provincial Court and the Rule of Law. Intended as a resource for journalists covering legal issues and proceedings in British Columbia courts, it also provides a useful introduction to the Court and its work for members of the public.
The Court has also designed a workshop for journalists covering BC courts. First offered in the Okanagan Region in 2017, the Media Workshop provided a valuable forum for two-way communication between the Court and members of the media.