JEREMY HAINSWORTH VANCOUVER
Reducing “unacceptable delays”
in the prosecution of appeals from
conviction, acquittals and combined conviction/sentences is the
aim of a pilot project in the B.C.
Court of Appeal starting Sept. 7.
“Quite a number of criminal
appeals were taking significantly
more than a year to be dealt with,”
said court law officer Greg Pun. A
large percentage was taking 18-24
months, he explained.
That, Pun said, was deemed by
the rules committee to be too long.
The project’s goal is to have all such
appeals heard within one year of
the filing of the notice of appeal.
The results will determine whether
and how to amend the Criminal
Rules Act 1986, he said.
“The intent is to allow us to
put manageable, practical time-
frames into the rules,” Pun said.
“It’s really just a demonstration of
the Court of Appeal’s commit-
ment to the expeditious adminis-
tration of justice.”
The project will not encompass
appeals against sentence alone, for-
feitures or those concerning extra-
ditions and international mutual
assistance. Pun said sentence
appeals are smaller matters gov-
ALISTAIR EAGLE FOR THE LAWYERS WEEKLY
erned by different rules than those
The Vancouver Law Courts building (pictured above) is where the B.C. Court of
Appeal hears cases.
being worked on.
“Statistics didn’t show the same
kind of time delay problems that
were showing up with conviction
appeals,” Pun said.
And, he said, extradition appeals
are more complex, dealing with
both reviews of extradition orders
and ministerial decisions. But, Pun
added, if the acquittal and convictions process can be made more
efficient, the whole appeals system
would become more streamlined as
The proposals, discussed in a
practice directive from Court of
Appeal Chief Justice Lance Finch,
is being undertaken after consultations with federal and provincial
Crown counsel, defence counsel,
transcription services and the provincial legal aid society.
“They have been positive about
it,” Pun said. “We wouldn’t have
proceeded without the endorse-
ment of these members of the Bar.”
The project involves setting new
time limits for the filing of docu-
ments, setting hearing dates early
in the appellate process and impos-
ing a mandatory compliance hear-
ing 29 weeks after the filing of the
notice of appeal. The last, says the
practice directive, is to monitor and
ensure compliance with deadlines.
It comes directly after the filing of
the appellant’s factum.
Fewer youth are being sentenced
to custody under the Youth Criminal
Justice Act (YCJA) than under its pre-
decessor Young Offenders Act (YOA),
Statistics Canada reports.
In 2008/2009 under the YCJA,
5,307 youth cases, or about 15 per
cent of all convictions, culminated in
custody, compared with 13,237
cases ( 27 per cent) during the YOA’s
last year in 2002/2003.
The agency said probation was
imposed in 60 per cent of convictions
in 2008/2009 compared with 70 per
cent in 2002/2003.
Cases with a finding, or plea, of
guilt made up 59 per cent of youth
court cases disposed of in
2008/2009. The highest proportion
of convictions (90 per cent) was
for young persons being unlawfully
Goudge inquiry compensation
BC law society studies aboriginal lawyers
THE CBA opposes an equal
parenting-time bill ........................1
CROSSING THE border with old
convictions ................................. 14
JEREMY HAINSWORTH VANCOUVER
A B.C. Court of Appeal pilot
project aims to fight delays..........2
THE B.C. law society will study the
role of aboriginal lawyers .............2
assistance to citizens abroad
raises concerns....................... 15
BUSINESS & CAREERS
LAWYERS COULD be allowed to
blow the whistle on their clients to
stop “financial harm”.................... 3
BILL PADDING: Real or figment of
clients’ imagination?................... 21
Ontario will pay a “recognition pay-
ment” of up to $250,000 to eligible
individuals involved in the 19 botched
pediatric forensic pathology cases
identified by the Inquiry led by Ontario
Court of Appeal Justice Stephen
Goudge. The application process is
designed to be easy and completed
within 90 days. Factors to be con-
sidered include: loss of liberty; mental
harshness and indignity; loss of repu-
tation; effect on family and other per-
sonal relationships; and effect on
earnings and income.
A child of an accused who was
removed from the home may be eli-
gible for a payment of up to
$25,000. A family member directly
affected by their relative’s involve-
ment with the criminal justice sys-
tem may receive a payment of up to
$12,500. Individuals who incurred
legal costs in their defence, or on
behalf of others, may also be reim-
bursed for that amount.
Thomson acquires CLB
A WATCHDOG that barks,
sometimes bites .......................... 4
LAW SCHOOL and the risk of
irrelevance ................................. 22
A TRAILBLAZING judge hopes to
become a TV personality............ 27
AN ASSOCIATES’ guide to law
firm culture................................. 22
BLACK’S WAR on taxes............ 23
JEFFREY MILLER....................... 5
REFORMING THE disclosure duty
in insurance contracts.................. 9
The Law Society of B.C. is
undertaking a demographic project to better understand the role
of aboriginal lawyers in the profession.
As the society did in 2009
with women in the legal profession, it intends to develop a business case for diversity, including
the retention and advancement
of aboriginal lawyers.
The project was discussed
recently at the University of B.C.’s
First Nations House of Learning,
attracting about 70 aboriginal
students and lawyers.
Society president Glen Ridg-
way told attendees the society’s
benchers see “retaining aborig-
inal lawyers in the legal profes-
sion as one of the key objectives
in the society’s current strategic
Ridgway told The Lawyers
Weekly “the percentage of aborig-
inal lawyers just does not meet
up with the percentage of aborig-
inal people in our community.
Insurance Board overhauls its
injured workers’ re-entry
program ................................ 10
WHY ARBITRATION offers a good
alternative to the courts in
insurance disputes ..................... 11
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A NEW rule reins in the growing
use of experts at trial................. 13
Announcements. . . . . . . . . . . 24
Careers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Classified Ads . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
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