Letter to BC Courts and Tribunals: Pronunciation of Names in Proceedings

  • March 12, 2024


The Chiefs of all three B.C. courts have responded to the submission as follows:

On February 9, 2024 Chief Justice Leonard Marchand wrote that the “Court of Appeal recognizes the importance of pronouncing names correctly and has taken your letter under advisement.”

On March 6, 2024, Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson noted that all members of the Supreme Court have been encouraged to clarify the pronunciation of names at the beginning of proceedings. Justice Hinkson adds that given this action, no new or amended practice directions will be issued on the matter.

On March 12, 2024, Provincial Court Chief Judge Melissa Gillespie wrote that she has sent a message to judges and judicial justices reminding them to request the proper pronunciation when they have concerns or hear different pronunciations used by participants in a hearing.

On February 2, CBABC, the South Asian Bar Association of BC and the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (BC) Society delivered a letter to the Chief Justice of BC, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of BC, Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of BC, and the Chair of Circle of Chairs of BC Administrative Tribunals.

The letter offers best practices to ensure that all people appearing before courts and tribunals throughout BC have their names pronounced correctly, increasing inclusion for lawyers and participants across the province.

The suggestions include:

  • Amended practice directions to outline how participants can advise the court/tribunal of the pronunciation of their names.
  • Updated standard practices to request pronunciation of all names upon introduction.
  • Encouragement to request confirmation of pronunciation.
  • Verification of the correct pronunciation of all participants prior to the hearing.

Implementation of these practices will improve the experience of Indigenous and racialized people who appear before our courts and tribunals. It also sends the message that everyone, regardless of race, culture and ethnicity, should be treated with equal respect and dignity.

Tagged Sections: Aboriginal Law - Vancouver, Aboriginal Law - Vancouver Island, Administrative Law and 28 more..., ADR - Nanaimo, ADR - Vancouver, Appellate Advocacy, Children's Law, Civil Litigation - Okanagan, Civil Litigation - Vancouver, Civil Litigation - Vancouver Island, Class Action Law, Constitutional/Civil Liberties Law, Construction Law, Criminal Justice - Nanaimo, Criminal Justice - Vancouver, Criminal Justice - Victoria, Employment Law, Environmental Law, Family Law - Fraser Valley, Family Law - Kamloops, Family Law - Okanagan, Family Law - Vancouver, General Practice - Lower Mainland, Health Law, Human Rights Law, Insolvency Law, Insurance Law, Municipal Law, Natural Resources Law, Unbundled Legal Services, Family Law - Victoria Island