Advocacy in Action | June 2021

Court Services, Police Act Reform, Volunteers Needed!

June 2021

Advocacy in Action | June 2021


The provincial budget announced on April 20 included funding to modernize court services, implement technology solutions and improve Internet availability to increase access to justice. In addition, there was funding to implement the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act by moving forward with analysis of legislation. CBABC was pleased to see forward movement in these areas, which were part of our recommendations in Agenda for Justice 2021.


The past year, the way lawyers provide services and how court proceedings are managed have transformed. CBABC’s Access to Justice and Court Services Committees have been taking a deeper dive into concerns about COVID-19 modifications to court services and how those may be hampering access for some users of the systems. The committees are also looking at the consequences of existing, outdated systems. Since April, members have been invited to share stories regarding concerns about phone-in court scheduling, e-filing, and virtual hearings at

CBABC leaders meet frequently with the Chief and Associate Chief Justices and Judges of BC’s courts to share the reality and impact of the current processes on litigants and lawyers, particularly behind the scenes. Members’ stories and responses to ThoughtExchanges provide examples and solutions to achieve improvements. The courts appreciate receiving this information to add to the information from court staff and collected data about case volumes and court usage. The courts also share forthcoming changes and suggestions for how counsel can adapt to new proceedings. As a result, CBABC has prepared members for changes to the Provincial Court Rules, the Northern Bail Project, the digitization of the Court of Appeal, new forms of court introductions, and moving to MS Teams.


In April, CBABC filed a submission to the Special Committee appointed by government to make recommendations to reform and modernize the Police Act. After a call for volunteers, representatives of SOGIC and Social Justice Sections joined representatives from the Access to Justice, Equality & Diversity, Indigenous Justice Advocacy, and Legislation & Law Reform Committees to research key topics and provide valuable input.

This diverse and dedicated group of volunteers prepared a submission that contains 16 recommendations, including the vital need for disaggregated data to identify issues on how police interact with members of the public. The submission also addresses the lack of accountability for police-involved deaths, the undesirable effects of seizure of personal property, disciplinary proceedings for police, and the need to reduce reliance on firearms and lethal weapons by police.


CBABC’s policy submissions are prepared by members who volunteer through committees, working groups, and Sections. If you would like to join colleagues to improve legislation and law reform, the administration of justice, or regulation of the profession, complete the Committee Volunteer Form or join your Section’s Executive.

Learn about the different opportunities on our nine policy committees and working groups, and contact the Director of Advocacy, Jo-Anne Stark, at for more information about the current initiatives.

Many thanks to all of the hard-working and dedicated volunteers who shaped Agenda for Justice 2021, briefing notes, submissions, and letters to the Law Society, provincial government ministries, and the courts.