The Government of British Columbia has appointed four new Provincial Court judges and one new provincial judicial justice to increase access to justice for British Columbians.
The appointment of new judges and a new justice will increase the capacity of the Provincial Court and help to address a backlog of cases as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The four new judges being appointed are:
- Darin Reeves, effective Feb. 1, 2021
- Emmet Duncan, effective Jan. 11, 2021
- Andrea Davis, effective Jan. 11, 2021
- Diana Vandor, effective Feb. 1, 2021
Reeves has dedicated his practice to working with the Canadian Armed Forces. As a military prosecutor with the Office of the Judge Advocate General, his focus was on criminal law, international law related to armed conflicts, and administrative and employment law and policy. He obtained his masters in law from Dalhousie Schulich School of Law. He was the lead author of a book about child soldiers and is currently working as a prosecutor in Fort McMurray with the Alberta Prosecution Service.
Duncan has been practicing law for over 20 years and teaching law at the UBC Criminal Law Clinic since 2014. With experience as both Crown counsel and criminal defence law, Duncan also developed an interest in Indigenous law. He obtained his masters in law from UBC, focusing on the incorporation of Indigenous perspectives and norms into the Canadian legal system.
For the last 15 years, Davis has been in-house counsel at the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union where she represents the union in grievances often involving mental health and addictions issues, disabilities and other similar social issues. Before obtaining her law degree, Davis was a social worker and focused on child protection.
As the chair of the BC Human Rights Tribunal, the BC Mental Health Review Board and the Circle of Chairs, Vandor has a wealth of leadership and decision-making skills. With a degree in law and a master of arts degree in economics, she has gained extensive experience in adjudication and writing decisions. This background also led to her appointment to the board of trustees of Trinity College, University of Toronto, from 2009-15. Prior to moving to British Columbia, Vandor was an international criminal lawyer working on high-profile cases around the globe.
The new judicial justice being appointed is:
Sarah Swift, effective on pronouncement.
Swift has a strong history in public service. She graduated from the University of Victoria law school in 2005. She worked as Crown counsel for the Province where she had a varied career, focusing on charge assessments/bail hearings and trial work.
The provincial government is committed to promoting fair access to justice for all residents of B.C. These appointment decisions take into account multiple factors, including the needs of the court, the diversity of the bench and a candidate's expertise. These criteria help facilitate the court’s ability to resolve disputes between various parties in all divisions of the court, communicate its decisions effectively to the public, uphold the constitution and protect the rule of law.
In addition to the above, judges and justices must devote themselves exclusively to their judicial duties. No judge may hold any other paid position or engage in any business enterprise.
- The process to appoint judges involves the following steps:
- Interested lawyers apply, and the Judicial Council of B.C. reviews the candidates. The council is a statutory body made up of the chief judge, an associate chief judge, other judges, lawyers and members from outside the legal profession.
- The council recommends potential judges to the attorney general, with the final appointment made through a cabinet order-in-council.
- Although judges are located in a judicial region, many travel regularly throughout the province to meet changing demands.
For information about the judicial appointment process, visit: www.provincialcourt.bc.ca
For information about the Ministry of Attorney General's response to COVID-19, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/covid-19