New Report Reveals Education Key to Public Confidence in Justice System

  • January 25, 2010

VANCOUVER – A comprehensive new report, written by SFU Professor Neil Boyd and commissioned by the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association, has revealed that accurate information about the justice system is key to the public’s confidence. The report reviews research from Canada and other countries focused on identifying the prime factors that affect public confidence in the justice system.

Professor Boyd who conducted this research on behalf of the British Columbia Branch of the Canadian Bar Association, with funding from the Law Foundation of BC says:

"The best available research suggests that when the public is exposed to relevant and accessible information about courts, crime and corrections, their confidence in the justice system increases quite significantly. Media portrayals of crime typically focus on the most horrific and unusual of both crimes and punishments, skewing public perceptions of how the system actually works."

The President of the British Columbia Branch of the Canadian Bar Association spoke to the significance of the reports findings to this province: “The Government of BC has set tangible targets to improve public confidence in the justice system, and there are many partners in the community that are working to help achieve that end. For example, the British Columbia Branch of the Canadian Bar Association hosts Law Week across the province each April, in partnership with local bar associations and schools, and we have been working with the Justice Education Society to increase the legal education content in Social Studies curriculum in high schools.”

The Justice Education Society recently announced service cuts due to reductions in government funding.

“This report confirms that public education is critical if government and other justice system stakeholders want to ensure that members of the public have confidence that their justice system is performing well, and is therefore worthy of their support,” said President Bond. “As funding pressures grow in other areas of government spending, the public should bear in mind that the legal system, which underpins our society, must be given proper resources."

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Contact: media@bccba.org

The Canadian Bar Association is the professional organization representing more than 38,000 lawyers, judges and law students in Canada, including 6,500 members in British Columbia.