A trial courtroom at the Provincial Court of B.C., in Vancouver in this undated photo. (Cliff MacArthur/provincialcourt.bc.ca)

B.C. creates advisory groups to look at COVID-19 impacts on justice system

One of the groups will make recommendations on how to deal with the backlog in cases

Two advisory groups are being formed in B.C. to keep the justice system moving amid the pandemic – and as restrictions are lifted – the government has announced.

More than two dozen groups, including the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police, B.C. Civil Liberties Association RCMP and the First Nations Justice Council, will advise government on how to respond to urgent and arising issues in the system, the Ministry of Attorney General said Friday (April 24).

Other organizations involved include Ending Violence Association of BC, Canadian Mental Health Association and the Independent Investigations Office.

Meanwhile, a second collection of legal experts will help determine the best way forward in reducing the growing backlog of cases once restrictions are lifted and in-person court hearings can reconvene.

As the number of confirmed cases in B.C. began to grow in March, the province suspended criminal matters in the B.C. Supreme Court until the end of May.

Some cases, particularly civil, family court and appeals, are still being conducted over the phone. Some tribunals, including the BC Human Rights Tribunal, also continue to operate.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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CoronavirusCriminal Justice