The Government of British Columbia is appointing three new Provincial Court judges and two new judicial justices, to support the judiciary with the resources required to continue providing access to justice.
The appointment of new judges and judicial justices 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 three new judges being appointed are:
- Dannielle Dunn, effective July 27, 2021
- Sheila Archer, effective July 27, 2021
- Derek Mah, effective July 15, 2021
The two new judicial justices being appointed are:
- Judicial Justice Leslie-Anne Wall, effective on pronouncement
- Judicial Justice Hugh McCall, effective on pronouncement
Dannielle Dunn has dedicated most of her career to being counsel in child protection proceedings, where she dealt with issues of poverty, mental illness and addictions in families. While working at an inner city daycare, she saw people struggling with systemic and personal obstacles, and became interested in social welfare law and policy – especially its impact on children. Dunn worked as a poverty law lawyer at the Langley Legal Assistance Centre, then moved to child protection litigation at Somers Poulin Hall, LLP in 2000, where she eventually became counsel for the director of child, family and community service. Dunn has engaged in community work with organizations like the Access Pro Bono Society and the Queens Park Neighbourhood Child Care Society.
Following her call to the bar in 1991, Sheila Archer spent five years as Crown counsel, appearing primarily in Provincial Court on criminal law matters. From 1997-2017, her criminal law experience was within a military context, where she served as a legal officer in the Canadian Armed Forces Office of the Judge Advocate General for 20 years. Following her military release, Archer joined the B.C. Ministry of Attorney General Legal Services Branch Health and Social Services division, as counsel for the Medical Services Commission. She participated in mediations and appeared at hearings where alleged overbillings of the Medical Services Plan were determined. Archer also served as counsel to the Special Investigations Unit at the Ministry of Health on policy matters. Having often been the first or only woman in a given role, she has been a leader in mentoring and supervising other women lawyers practicing in similar areas.
After being called to the bar in 2004, Derek Mah worked in the ICBC defence and family law groups at Alexander Holburn, LLP. Over time, he developed his own practice, particularly in family law and focused on plaintiff's personal injury work. Mah appeared as lead counsel in trial at all levels of court in B.C. and participated in all forms of hearings and attendances and has volunteered as a moot judge for University of British Columbia (UBC) law students. With a background in physiotherapy, Mah has found time to be a volunteer coach in recreational and minor sports leagues such as the Vancouver Thunderbirds Minor Hockey Association and Vancouver United Football Club.
Leslie-Anne Wall is an experienced litigator with more than 31 years’ experience in criminal law. Wall has extensive expertise in both criminal prosecution and defence litigation. As a supervising lawyer and adjunct professor with the Law Students Legal Advice Program at the Peter A. Allard School of Law (UBC) from 2011-17, Wall has mentored students through professional opportunities and experiences. She acted as defence counsel in the circuit courts in Bella Bella, Bella Coola and Klemtu. Throughout her career, Wall has been committed to volunteering with organizations like the Drug Treatment Court of Vancouver, the Launching Pad Recovery Society and the Association of Legal Aid Lawyers. She continues her commitment to improving access to justice, and mentoring and supporting female lawyers in the profession.
Hugh McCall was called to the bar in 1987 and has been involved in conflict management and resolution since 1989. He received his chartered arbitrator designation in 1994. Since then, he has acted as a mediator and arbitrator in areas including residential tenancy, municipal bylaw and motor vehicle warranty. He has participated in several high-profile arbitrations, including the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat (2007-19), the Torture Claims Appeal Board, Hong Kong (2017-present) and other tribunals. Additionally, he has taught administrative hearing practices for the BC Council of Administrative Tribunals and mentored students in the Provincial Court civil mediation practicum.
British Columbia’s judiciary is recognized for its diversity, experience and knowledge. This range of expertise helps 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 judicial 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.
- There is a similar process to appoint judicial justices:
- The Judicial Council of B.C. screens candidates for judicial justice appointments.
- It reviews applications and decides whether the applicant will be interviewed.
- From those interviewed, judicial council approves candidates as qualified for recommendation to the lieutenant governor in council.
- Although judicial officers may be assigned to 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