|For immediate release||December 3, 2009|
Docu-fiction Video Brings Judicial and Legal Independence to Life in BC Classrooms
Vancouver – The Law Society of BC and the Justice Education Society have launched a “docu-fiction” video about the importance of an independent justice system that features high school students challenging a fictitious law, the “Youth Gathering Act”.
The video – entitled Legal Independence: It’s Your Right – presents the cases of three high school students arrested and charged under the “Youth Gathering Act”. This fictitious law makes it illegal for a group of three or more youth to gather in public after 6 p.m. The video can be viewed at www.justiceeducation.ca.
After being arrested, the students are cynical about their prospects of being fairly treated by the court and repeat some myths about the justice system. Each student consults a lawyer and learns first-hand about the principles of fairness, independence and equality in BC’s justice system. To the students’ surprise, the judge ultimately declares the anti-gathering law unconstitutional and dismisses the charges against the students.
“Many people don’t know that the independence of lawyers and independence of judges are fundamental elements of the rule of law that must be jealously guarded by Canadians,” said Gordon Turriff, QC, President of the Law Society of BC. “I think this video is one way to help students understand that.”
Rick Craig, Executive Director of the Justice Education Society said, “This project is the latest in a series of educational tools the Society has developed to help students better understand the justice system in Canada.”
More than 450 BC high school law, social studies, and civics teachers have each been sent the DVD and an accompanying teacher’s guide as part of the societies’ campaign to educate students about the importance of the rule of law in Canada’s justice system and the independence of its judges and lawyers.
The Law Society of BC was incorporated in 1884 and is the governing body of the legal profession in BC. Under the provisions of the Legal Profession Act, the Law Society is responsible for the licensing, professional conduct and discipline of the more than 10,000 lawyers in BC.
Since 1989, the Justice Education Society has been dedicated to improving access to the legal system through hands-on, targeted, two-way education between the public and those working in the justice system. As a non-profit organization with ongoing public and private sector financial and volunteer support, the society is able to offer a unique and comprehensive collection of justice related educational services and effectively work towards creating a justice system that is accessible to all.
For further information or to obtain copies of the DVD and teacher’s guide, contact:
Patricia Byrne, Manager, Provincial Programs Justice Education Society