In 2012 lawyer Geoffrey Cowper QC investigated BC’s criminal justice system. As chair of the province’s Justice Reform Initiative he made recommendations for improving the system. This fall he prepared an update on the progress made in the last four years. Where do things stand today? Has there been improvement in BC’s criminal justice system?
Mr. Cowper thinks so.
Vancouver’s downtown eastside is an area is known for open drug use, aggressive panhandling, and a host of other disorderly behaviour. The number of people with addictions and mental illness is visible to any passerby.
In a December 18, 2016 opinion piece in the Vancouver Sun, BC’s Chief Justice Robert Bauman described a typical day in the life of a judge. While he wrote about the work of judges in BC’s Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, his comments apply to Provincial Court judges as well. Here’s what the Chief Justice said:
BC Provincial Court judges have a history of producing and sharing practical resources to help trial judges achieve the excellence that is one of our court’s core values. Under the auspices of the BC Provincial Court Judges Association, volunteer judges have created and maintained two aids that proved so valuable they are being used by judges and others across Canada.
Judges and judicial justices don’t just preside in court and volunteer in their communities. They also volunteer to serve on the various committees established within the Court to help the Chief Judge with the Court’s administration and contribute to the education of their colleagues.
The Court’s Committees