Monday, April 14, 2008


Access to Justice: Breaking Down Barriers


Ian Mulgrew
Vancouver Sun -
April 14, 2008

Need some free legal advice? This week you can actually get it.

Law Week is a national event held annually in April to celebrate the signing of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Started by the Canadian Bar Association in 1983, it's a chance for the professionals to do some PR and educate the public about what judges and lawyers really do.

This year's theme is Access to Justice: Breaking Down Barriers and includes the usual spectrum of events -- a Dial-a-Lawyer service, mock trials, an essay and public speaking contests, free law classes, tours, a public forum and more.

The forum on Saturday -- from 12:30-2 p.m. at the Vancouver Public Library on Georgia Street -- is likely to draw the largest audience. It's a chance to hear from the powers that be why they do what they do and features B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Don Brenner, Provincial Court Chief Judge Hugh Stansfield, Vancouver Police Department Deputy Chief Bob Rich and RCMP Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass (among others). Ian Hanomansing, the CBC news anchor, will moderate.

On Saturday, the provincewide Dial-a-Lawyer service will be offered between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. You get 15 minutes of advice from a lawyer for free. No strings attached. Last year, there were 235 calls. There also will be mock trials staged across the province at various courthouses.

For instance, in Fort St. John on Wednesday there will be a mock trial of a student accused of assaulting a teacher. Provincial Court Judge Rita Bowry will hear the case presented by Ted Sloan and Selena Munzel, criminology students from Northern Lights College, who will act as crown counsel and defence.

Lawyers Randolph Smythe and Andrew Bird, of Pomeroy & Gentles will serve as advisers, and a jury will be selected by lottery. The trial will be followed by a Q&A session with the judge.

In New Westminster on Wednesday, Peter Pan will be in the dock, and in the Vancouver Law Courts on Thursday, Jack of Beanstalk fame will face the music.

For more information and details about these and other events,

check out the website:


Mary, I finally figured out why no one has commented on this posting. Apparently your readership isn't very interested in Fantasy Parallel Universes where Access to Justice is something that actually exists for common individuals who don't have corporate law firms on retainer and aren't even International Crime Lords seeking "refugee" status in Canada.

Heck, even the Crown Counsel of British Columbia have little "effective" access to remedies in court against the Gordo Gang. They proved in court that the government violated the law in dealing with their right to negotiate terms of employment and Gordo and Gang simply re-wrote the law to make their actions lawful.

To The BC liaR Party and the PsuedoCons in Ottawa even court orders/judgments are just irritating pieces of paper to either ignore or appeal until everyone who ever cared is dead. These folks not only believe in commodetizing all possible resources that were once parts of the "common" but justice itself seems pretty clearly to be "FOR SALE" to the highest and/or best connected bidder.

It must have really been inconvenient for Gordo to get busted for drunk driving in Hawaii, where he was powerless to change the definition of the legal limit. How likely is it that our guy never was pulled over in questionable condition on home turf? People with chauffeurs available have NO EXCUSE!
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