The BCCLA is pleased to note that the province has appointed nine new provincial court judges in an effort to resolve a backlog of criminal cases that threatens public confidence in the criminal justice system. In the BCCLA’s report Justice Denied: The Causes of BC’s Criminal Justice System Crisis, the BCCLA pointed to the disturbing fact that more people are in provincial correctional facilities awaiting trial than there are serving sentences. In a report issued by the provincial government, the cause of the crisis was attributed to various problems such as insufficient “systems thinking”.
The BCCLA report outlines that during the period March 31, 2008 to January 21, 2012, the number of full-time equivalent provincial court judges dropped from 141.9 to 121.35. With 18 judges appointed this year (nine in February of 2012 and nine in November of 2012), the province is finally now at a level of judicial resources that meets what the Court has told the province it needs to keep pace with the current caseload (143.65), a requirement BC has not met since 2005. The BCCLA report was funded in part by the BCGEU.