B.C. Judicial Council keeps moving towards inclusion in judiciary despite less activity due to COVID
The pool of candidates from which judges are selected has been around 25 this year, the report says, and ultimately the provincial government selected six, four women and two men.
Since 1999 the Council has carried out 596 interviews, of which an average of 27 per year. However, “the interviews were suspended for several months during COVID-19 2020, resulting in an unusually low number” of interviews. Before 1999 the Council consulted all applicants, but this year decided to add an application procedure.
Of the 30 applicants received in 2020, 16 offered “diversity factors” for consideration for judicial appointment. Five identified as indigenous, eight identified as a visible minority or ethnic group, and six identified as diverse. These numbers add up to more than 16 as some candidates identified themselves in more than one category.
Kate Feeney, director of litigation at West Coast LEAF (Legal Education and Action Fund), commented on the report that the organization “sees building an inclusive justice system as an urgent societal goal as courts gain both strength and legitimacy when judges reflect on and share their experiences ”. with the churches they serve.
“The success of the British Columbia Council of Justice in referring more female applicants is only one step towards a truly inclusive justice system. The Judicial Council – and every corner of the judicial system – must continue to work to break down the systemic and structural barriers that exclude not only female lawyers, but also indigenous lawyers, racist lawyers, 2SLGBTQIA + lawyers and other lawyers from under-represented groups in the legal profession. “