Until you’re confronted with a legal problem, you probably don’t pay too much attention to talk about access to justice. But legal issues are part of our everyday lives and we’re all likely to encounter them sooner or later. Starting a job, renting an apartment, paying bills, living common law or getting married, thinking about a will – these are all common events that affect our legal health.
The Provincial Court of BC is serous abut its commitment to accountability, openness and transparency. Issuing semi-annual Time to Trial Reports is one way it delivers on that commitment. Every six months the Court informs the Attorney General and the public about when it is typically able to offer dates for trials and conferences in Provincial Court locations around the province.
The proliferation of fentanyl has required BC courts to respond in two ways – not just with the usual legal response to a new trend in criminal activity, but on a practical level as well. This eNews describes the approach BC courts have taken in sentencing those who traffic in fentanyl, and in dealing with high potency narcotics exhibits.
Going to court is intimidating enough if you’re a witness, you’re involved in a family court case, or you’re accused of a crime. Imagine how bewildering it is if you don’t understand or speak English! Spoken-language court interpreters are available, in some cases without charge. How do you ask for an interpreter, and when do you have to pay for one?
Recognized for its leadership in providing transparency and accountability in the judicial appointment process, BC’s Judicial Council has released its 20th Annual Report. Again this year, the Report includes statistics on applicants for judicial appointments to the British Columbia Provincial Court and their demographics – gender, age, experience, residential region, and ethnic background.