BCCLA to argue at Supreme Court for improved access to justice

Ottawa – The BCCLA will be appearing at the Supreme Court of Canada on Wednesday, December 12, 2012, to argue in Her Majesty the Queen v. Criminal Lawyers’ Association of Ontario, et al. This case involves the question of whether a court’s jurisdiction to appoint amicus curiae entails an incidental power to require that the Crown remunerate an amicus lawyer on terms defined by the court. An “amicus curiae” is a “friend of the court”, a lawyer appointed by a judge to argue on behalf of a particular party or issue that would otherwise be unrepresented.

The BCCLA is an intervener in this case, and will argue that the protection of civil and human rights depends upon the existence of a system of law in which courts are able to impartially and independently settle disputes. For the courts to function in our adversarial system, judges must be in a position to call upon the assistance on amicus curiae on such terms as are necessary for the court to “administer justice fully and effectively”. It is essential for courts to be in a position to appoint sufficiently experienced counsel to assist them in complex and serious cases. Courts must have the tools they need to preserve their own integrity and to protect the public’s confidence in them, both of which are essential to maintaining the rule of law.

 The BCCLA is represented by Micah Rankin of Thompson Rivers University and Elizabeth France of Sugden, McFee & Roos LLP.

The BCCLA’s argument in the case is available here >>

What: Supreme Court of Canada will hear oral arguments in Her Majesty the Queen v. Criminal Lawyers’ Association of Ontario, et al.

When: Oral arguments before the court begin on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 6:00 am PST/ 9:00 am EST.

Where: Supreme Court of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario)

Who:  Lawyers for the BCCLA available for comment