News Release
April 12, 2017

Vancouver, April 12, 2017 – The Law Society of British Columbia is committed to addressing the challenges arising from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s findings and recommendations. As part of this commitment, a Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Committee was established to address justice and legal issues affecting Indigenous people in the province, including those highlighted in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report and recommendations. To date, the advisory committee is working to incorporate Indigenous issues and content into lawyer education curricula and will be organizing a symposium in the fall to engage members of the Bar for their input on next steps.

As a step toward reconciliation, the Law Society will remove the statue of Justice Begbie from its lobby and replace it with a more unifying and inclusive symbol in due course.

The Law Society’s Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Committee and members of the Indigenous community recommended to the Benchers that it be removed. The Benchers were advised that the statue is a reminder to them of the province’s colonial past and Justice Begbie’s role in the hanging of six Tsilhqot’in Chiefs. The presence of the statue is offensive to them and affects their current experience with the Law Society.

The Law Society wishes to engage with the Indigenous community in the Truth and Reconciliation process. We are removing the statue in the spirit of reconciliation to ensure that all members of our community feel comfortable and included in our premises.

“It is a small decision but a very important one for the Tsilhqot’in people and Indigenous peoples,” said Grand Chief Ed John, co-chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Committee. “We have a large amount of work to do. It is our responsibility to make sure that law students and the legal profession understand the truth and the history, and that they can be a part of reconciling the relationship with Indigenous peoples.”

“We are listening to the concerns of the Indigenous community and taking them to heart,” said Law Society President Herman Van Ommen, QC. “This is an important step in our journey toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in British Columbia.”

The Law Society of British Columbia upholds and protects the public interest in the administration of justice by ensuring the independence, integrity and competence of lawyers, establishing education and professional development standards for lawyers, regulating the practice of law and preserving and protecting the rights and freedoms of all persons.


For further information or interview requests contact:

Vinnie Yuen
Communications Officer


David Jordan
Communications Officer