Complaints

The Chief Judge handles all complaints regarding the conduct or behaviour of judges, judicial justices and justices of the peace of the Provincial Court, but does not deal with:

  • appeals of their decisions
  • complaints about:
    • judges of other courts
    • court and other staff employed by the provincial government
    • lawyers
    • police, probation officers or correctional officers.

The Provincial Court Act (“the Act”) provides that all complaints about the conduct or behaviour of Provincial Court judges, judicial justices and justices of the peace be made in writing to the Chief Judge who, after examining the complaint, must report in writing to the complainant and to the judge, judicial justice or justice of the peace.

Limits on the Chief Judge’s authority
Under the Act, the Chief Judge has the power and the duty to supervise the Court’s judges, judicial justices and justices of the peace. However, the Chief Judge’s authority regarding complaints is supervisory and disciplinary in nature.

It does not include the power to

• change the outcome of a ruling or decision, order a new trial, declare a mistrial, or overturn a decision (These are all remedies that are only available through an appeal or judicial review.)
• order that a particular judge or judicial justice not hear a case.

Many of the letters sent to the Chief Judge raise matters that fall outside the Chief Judge's mandate. These are normally answered by a letter from one of the Court's Legal Officers, possibly suggesting appropriate avenues of inquiry.

What happens when the Chief Judge receives a complaint
The Provincial Court Act establishes a process for complaints about the Court’s judges, judicial justices and justices of the peace. It has three possible stages: examination, investigation, and inquiry.

How to complain
Guidelines for the conduct of judges and judicial justices are found in the Ethical Principles for Judges, for justices of the peace in the Justice of the Peace Code of Ethics and for judicial case managers in the Standards of Conduct.

You may wish to review the summaries of completed complaint examinations found at the end of each Provincial Court’s annual report for examples of the conduct complained of and the results.

Complaints must be submitted in writing by mail, addressed to:

The Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia
Suite 337 - 800 Hornby Street
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
V6Z 2C5
or by fax, to:
The Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia
Fax: (604) 660-1108
or by email to info@provincialcourt.bc.ca

Your correspondence must include:

• your name and mailing address,
• the name of the judge, judicial justice or justices of the peace complained of,
• the court location,
• the court file number (if known),
• the date of the incident, and
• a description of the alleged misconduct in as much detail as possible.

Please note that:

• Anonymous complaints, or complaints without a return address, will not be accepted.
• It is not our practice to acknowledge receipt of, or forward, any messages that contain abusive or intemperate language, or appear to be merely academic or mischievous inquiries.
• Responses provided to complaints are for information only and cannot be used as authority in court proceedings or for other purposes.

This website site and email address do not provide legal advice, comment on specific cases before the courts or advise on individual situations.