VICTORIA - The B.C. government is appointing three judges to the British Columbia Provincial Court, helping to alleviate caseload pressures and improve access to justice, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton announced today.
Judge Lyndsay Smith's appointment is effective Jan. 6, 2014. Judge Richard Hewson's appointment is effective Dec. 23, 2013, and Judge Lisa Wyatt's appointment is effective Dec. 30, 2013. The Chief Judge recommends to the B.C. government which communities the newly appointed judges should be assigned to, based on the most pressing need.
Government and the public rely on judges for their integrity and impartiality, and trust they will deliver fair, learned decisions. These qualities are essential for maintaining the public's confidence in the courts and are a vital component of any democratic justice system.
Under B.C.'s Justice Reform and Transparency Act, government has committed to working with the Chief Judge to develop a formula for determining the appropriate judicial complement for the Provincial Court. While this work is underway, government will continue to discuss judicial appointments with the Chief Judge and make appointments, as appropriate, to address matters such as judicial vacancies and case backlog. The Province is also working with the Chief Judge to develop and implement measures to increase court efficiencies and help avoid court delays.
- Interested lawyers apply and the B.C. Judicial Council, a committee made up of the Chief Judge, other judges, lawyers and lay people, reviews the candidates.
- The committee recommends potential judges to the attorney general, with the final appointment made through a cabinet order-in-council.
More information about the judicial appointment process can be found at: www.provincialcourt.bc.ca
Information about B.C.'s justice reform initiative can be found at: http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/justice-reform-initiatives/
A backgrounder follows.
Provincial court judge biographies
Judge Lyndsay Smith - Judge Lyndsay Smith has been practicing law for 24 years, earning her bachelor of laws from the University of British Columbia in 1987. She was called to the B.C. bar in 1988 and began her career as provincial Crown counsel. In 1991, Judge Smith juniored as ad hoc federal Crown counsel before joining the federal Department of Justice in 1993, conducting drug and tax prosecutions. In 1998, she began her own practice and was sole practitioner until January 2012. Her practice focused largely on ad hoc federal and provincial Crown counsel work in both the Provincial and Supreme Courts of British Columbia. Judge Smith has also volunteered with the First United Church Shelter and did school presentations with the UNICEF Speakers' Bureau.
Judge Richard Hewson - Prior to pursuing a career in law, Judge Richard Hewson graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in 1987, where he served as the cadet wing commander in his final year. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Canadian Army and served for four more years. Judge Hewson earned his bachelor of laws from the University of Victoria in 1994 and continued to expand his education in 2012 when he began work on a master of laws from Osgoode Hall at York University. Judge Hewson was called to the B.C. bar in 1995, and began his law career as an articled student at Boulton Muldoon in Vancouver. He became an associate there in 1995, and in 1997 moved on to be an associate with Davidson & Co until 2000, when he became a lawyer with Richard Hewson Law Corporation. Between 2001 and 2003, he was also a legal officer with the Office of the Judge Advocate General.
Judge Lisa Wyatt - Judge Lisa Wyatt was called to the B.C. bar in 1991. She earned her bachelor of laws from the University of British Columbia in 1990 and began her career as an articled student with Porter Ramsay, later becoming an associate. In 1996, she became an associate and partner with Pushor Mitchell LLP as a family law practitioner, a position she held until 2004 when she became partner. Judge Wyatt has also been very involved in legal and community organizations throughout her career, including being president of the Kelowna Bar Association and an elected member of the Canadian Bar Association's Provincial Council. Outside of her legal career, Judge Wyatt has been involved with the Kelowna Community Food Bank, the Children's Festival Society of Kelowna, Kelowna Women in Business and the Elizabeth Fry Society.
Ministry of Justice
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