You can make a formal complaint about a Provincial Court judge or justice (including a judicial justice, judicial case manager and justice of the peace) if you believe their conduct is improper. The Provincial Court Act sets out the process to be followed – both by a person making a complaint and by the Court’s Chief Judge who receives the complaint.
On this page we describe the complaint process and provide an online form you can use to submit a complaint.
You cannot complain about a decision
The Chief Judge has no power to change the decision of another judge or a justice, so you cannot use this process to complain about a decision in a particular case.
You cannot use this process to:
If you want to do any of these things, it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer about the procedure that must be followed. It may be an appeal or an application for judicial review to a higher court and there are deadlines for these procedures.
For more information about the Provincial Court and the BC justice system visit our Answers to Common Questions page.
You can complain about conduct
If you believe a judge or justice has conducted themselves in a way that concerns you, you may wish to make a complaint.
Conduct could be defined like this: the manner in which a person behaves, especially in a particular place or situation or towards others.
What conduct do we expect from judges in Canada? We expect them to display a high standard of personal conduct both in court and in public. Ethical Principles for Judges sets out guidelines for the conduct expected of British Columbia Provincial Court judges and justices. The guidelines are based on five expectations for judicial conduct: integrity, independence, equality, diligence and impartiality.
Summaries of complaints examined by the Chief Judge each year and the results can be found in the Provincial Court’s Annual Reports in a Complaints section near the end of the report.
Who can you complain about?
You can use this process to complain about the conduct of judges, judicial justices, judicial case managers, and justices of the peace of the Provincial Court of British Columbia.
The names of the Court’s judges and judicial justices and justice of the peace adjudicators are listed at Judges and Justices. For judicial case managers’ names see the Court’s Locations and Contacts page and click the relevant court location.
You cannot use this process to complain about:
See Complaints about Someone Other than a Provincial Court Judge or Justice for links to information on other complaint processes
You do not need a lawyer to make a complaint and there is no fee. There is no deadline, but if a complaint is received a long time after the conduct occurred the Chief Judge may decide that too much time has passed to examine the complaint fairly.
Anonymous complaints, complaints without a return address, complaints that contain rude, abusive or threatening language, and complaints that appear to be merely academic or mischievous inquiries will not be examined.
You may submit a complaint in one of three ways:
1. Using our secure online complaint form. Using the form can help speed up the response time for your complaint.
Complaints sent via the online web form remain largely unaffected by the Provincial State of Emergency and are being reviewed and responded to as usual.
2. By letter addressed to The Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia and faxed to (604) 660-1108.
Complaints sent via fax will still be reviewed during the Provincial State of Emergency; however, these complaints may experience a delayed response time.
3. By letter addressed and mailed to:
Complaints sent via mail will still be reviewed during the Provincial State of Emergency; however, these complaints may experience a delayed response time
The responses provided to complaints are for information only and cannot be used as authority in court proceedings or for other purposes.
What happens after you make a complaint?
The Provincial Court Act sets out the process the Chief Judge must follow when a complaint about judicial conduct is received. There are three possible stages: examination, investigation, and inquiry.