News Release
November 27, 2006

VANCOUVER — The Law Society of BC applauds the Civil Justice Reform Working Group for recommending fundamental changes that will improve access to justice for the people of BC.

“The Working Group’s vision of a civil justice system that is efficient, affordable and effective is something we fully support,” said Law Society President Robert McDiarmid, QC.

“Implementing the Working Group’s recommendations will require careful consideration along with strong, long-term leadership. The Law Society, as the statutory body mandated to regulate the legal profession in the public interest, welcomes the opportunity to assist in that leadership,” Mr. McDiarmid added. “We also look forward to providing further input during the Deputy Attorney General and Chief Justice’s consultation process.”

The Civil Justice Reform Working Group is part of the BC Justice Review Task Force. The Task Force was established on the initiative of the Law Society of BC in March 2002 to identify reforms to make the justice system more responsive, accessible and cost-effective. It includes representatives from the judiciary, the Law Society, the Canadian Bar Association and the Ministry of the Attorney General.

The Working Group’s 142-page report “Effective and Affordable Civil Justice,” makes three key recommendations to improve access to justice:

The creation a single place or “hub” where people can get the information and services they require to resolve legal problems on their own.

The introduction of case planning conferences to assist in the identification of issues and to explore settlement possibilities in litigation.

Revision of the Supreme Court Rules to streamline procedures and to create more flexibility in order to ensure that legal processes are proportional to the value, complexity and importance of the case.

“The report calls for lawyers to take a more active role in helping their clients move to solutions,” Mr. McDiarmid said. “This problem-solving approach will help ensure greater access to justice and greater public confidence in the justice system.”

With more than 10,000 members, the Law Society of British Columbia is the governing body for the BC legal profession. The Law Society’s principal responsibility is to uphold and protect the public interest in the administration of justice by setting standards for the education, professional responsibility and competence of practising lawyers in the province.

Law Society of BC media contact:
Brad Daisley, Public Affairs Manager
Office: 604 443-5724 or 1-800-903-5300 toll-free in BC