Advocacy in Action | December 2021

This month, we look at how CBABC’s advocacy seeks to improve the criminal justice system and protect solicitor-client privilege.

December 2021

Advocacy in Action | December 2021


A year ago, the provincial government appointed a Special Committee on reforming the 45-year-old Police Act. Their mandate was to examine and make recommendations on reforms to modernize policing, with a focus on the role of police in complex social issues. Four central themes emerged:

  • Reconciliation and anti-racism
  • Accountability
  • Police in community
  • Systemic change

CBABC assembled volunteer members from several Committees and Sections: Access to Justice, Equality & Diversity, Indigenous Justice Advocacy, Legislation & Law Reform, SOGIC, and Social Justice. These lawyers and law students considered the testimony and submissions offered to the Special Committee and identified several recommendations:

  • Importance of collecting and reporting disaggregated demographic data
  • Improving accountability for police-involved deaths
  • Addressing the undesirable effects of police seizure of personal property
  • Changes in disciplinary proceedings for police
  • The need for minimal reliance on firearms and lethal weapons by police

Our Submission on Reforming the Police Act was released to the Special Committee on April 30, 2021. CBABC Vice-President, Aleem Bharmal, was invited to speak before the Committee on July 28. We are currently waiting for the Committee’s final report to be presented to the Legislative Assembly.


When it comes to protecting solicitor-client privilege, CBABC strongly opposes suggestions that lawyers should report client transactions and services to government agencies or police, as clients depend on this confidentiality.

The CBA acted as Intervener in the 2015 Federation of Law Societies case, where the Supreme Court of Canada held that any provisions of anti-money laundering legislation that requires lawyers to report are struck down.

More recently, CBABC was granted Participant status in the Cullen Commission Inquiry into Money Laundering in BC, which wrapped up October 2021. During the inquiry, there was lack of evidence to support that lawyers and their practice are a “black hole” facilitating money laundering through the provision of legal services. CBABC argued that existing regulatory requirements developed and enforced by the Law Society of BC are sufficient. After two years of hearings, the Commission’s final report is scheduled for release later this month.

Read more about CBABC’s participation in the Cullen Commission in Kevin Westall’s article in this issue of BarTalk.

Want to get involved? reach out to us at

Fall 2021 Submissions

Advocacy committees have been actively releasing submissions on behalf of members in alignment with Agenda for Justice 2021. 

Reforming Court Scheduling

Modernizing the Child Protection System

BC Government Budget 2022 Submission

Land Owner Transparency Act Deadline

Civil Jury Trials

Self-Regulation and LSBC Governance