The Government of British Columbia is appointing four new provincial court judges to increase access to justice for British Columbians.
The additional appointments will be assigned to Surrey, providing support for an increased workload arising from the $33.5-million Surrey Courthouse expansion. They include:
- Judge David Albert (effective Oct. 25, 2018)
- Judge Georgia Docolas (effective Oct. 25, 2018)
- Judge Jennifer Lopes (effective Oct. 22, 2018)
- Judge Craig Sicotte (effective Oct. 29, 2018)
Albert received a bachelor of laws (LLB) from the University of Victoria (UVic) and was called to the bar in 1994. He started his career specializing in Aboriginal law, working extensively with the Squamish Nation where he focused on criminal law, family law and civil litigation. From there he worked in Surrey as a federal prosecutor. He established his own law firm doing legal aid, duty counsel, drug related and impaired driving defence work. Albert appears regularly in provincial court and Supreme Court and has appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada three times.
Docolas received an LLB from UVic and was called to the bar in 1992. She started her career with Altman Kahn Zack, focusing on federal work. She later became a Crown prosecutor in both the provincial and Supreme courts. She went on to open her own defence practice and has since been working regularly on major crime files.
Lopes received a juris doctor from the University of British Columbia and was called to the bar in 1999. She has spent a majority of her career as an advocate in the courtroom working with clients from ethnically diverse backgrounds and people with mental health and addiction issues. She has worked as Crown counsel in a variety of roles including trial prosecutor and as an early resolution/arraignment prosecutor. She regularly appears in the provincial and Supreme courts of British Columbia and has made submissions before the Senate of Canada.
Sicotte received an LLB from UVic and was called to the bar in 1991. He began his law career as a junior on serious crime files at Bull, Housser & Tupper before starting his own practice in Surrey. For the past 18 years he has focused on criminal law with clients from diverse ethnic backgrounds. In addition to his practice, Sicotte established and managed legal aid offices in Surrey, Langley and New Westminster.
Government and the public rely on judges for their integrity and impartiality, and trust they will deliver fair, learned decisions. These qualities are essential for maintaining the public’s confidence in the courts and are a vital component of any democratic justice system.
- The process to appoint judges involves the following steps:
- Interested lawyers apply, and the Judicial Council of B.C. reviews the candidates. The council is a statutory body made up of the chief judge, an associate chief judge, other judges, lawyers and lay people.
- The council recommends potential judges to the Attorney General, with the final appointment made through a cabinet order-in-council.
- Although judges are located in a judicial region, many travel regularly throughout the province to meet changing demands.