Northern B.C. lawyer receives top honour for commitment to Indigenous justice

  • June 24, 2024

The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch honoured Linda D. Locke, KC, a Hazelton-based lawyer, with the prestigious Georges A. Goyer, QC Memorial Award for Distinguished Service. This accolade, the most esteemed recognition granted by the Branch, was presented during the 38th annual Vancouver Bench & Bar Dinner.

Locke is a Northern B.C. managing lawyer with the Upper Skeena Counselling & Legal Assistance Society. For over 30 years, and with limited staff and funding, she has provided legal assistance to primarily Indigenous clients throughout a large remote area. Locke played an instrumental role in the establishment of the Hazelton Indigenous Sentencing Court, a specialized, culturally-appropriate Provincial Court for Indigenous people charged with criminal offences.

“I’ve always had a passion to be a positive change agent regarding First Nations in Canada,” says Locke, who is a member of the Peters Band of the Sto:lo people. “My social work and law school experience opened my eyes to the historical and legal impacts on First Nations during the advent of gold miners and colonialism.” Her prior roles as a courtworker, with the Elizabeth Fry Society in Kelowna and with the Ministry of Attorney General as probation officer, family court counsellor and youth worker gave her experience on the ground within the criminal justice system.

“Ms. Locke has worked for decades to support remote and underrepresented communities in Northern B.C. and reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the justice system,” said CBABC President Scott Morishita. “She is incredibly deserving of this award and we honour her contributions to justice for all.”

The Georges A. Goyer, QC Memorial Award for Distinguished Service acknowledges outstanding contributions to the legal profession, the law, jurisprudence, or significant law-related advancements benefiting British Columbians. This prestigious award pays tribute to the legacy of Georges A. Goyer, QC, a revered lawyer who selflessly dedicated his service as a member of the CBA.

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