In the fall of 2013 a small group gathered in a Gastown meeting room. They were all lawyers who had worked for years trying to make BC’s justice system work better for families.
Most people involved in family disputes would like to have a lawyer help them, but many feel they can’t afford it. Until recently hiring a lawyer was usually an all-or-nothing proposition. You hired a lawyer and turned the conduct of your entire case over to them, or you were on your own.
Judging in Canada is not often a family affair, but occasionally two members of the same family have been appointed and served on courts in BC at the same time. There have been brothers and sisters-in-law on various BC courts simultaneously, and sisters on our Provincial Court together, but now the BC Provincial Court has judges who are mother and daughter – likely a first in Canada!
Each year, 1 in 7 British Columbians gets legal help or legal education from one of the Justice Education Society’s resources or programs.
When a lawyer is appointed a judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia it usually makes news – often an article in the local newspaper in a size inversely proportional to the size of the community. So, in Vancouver there’ll be a short paragraph while in smaller communities more background detail and perhaps a photograph.