THE ADVOCATE 893
VOL. 78 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2020
By the Honourable David Eby, Q.C.*
GRATITUDE FOR THE WORK OF OUR JUDICIARY IN CHALLENGING TIMES
Because of longstanding conventions around the role of judges and justices
in our court system, the judiciary is often restrained from speaking out to
defend itself or to promote the good work that is taking place within our
courts. These conventions likely assist our judiciary in avoiding what might
generously be described as the reluctant enthusiasm of the public concerning
the role of lawyers in our democracy; however, it is also clear that the
downside of these conventions includes that the behind-the-scenes work by
our judiciary in administrating their courts often goes unnoticed.
Since the early days of the public health restrictions related to the
COVID-19 pandemic, I have been meeting, by phone and video, on a regular
basis with the senior administrators of our provincial and superior
courts. While I had occasional reason to meet with judicial administrators
pre-COVID, at that time meetings between government and the judiciary
typically took place at the public service level with the head of our Court
Services Branch and the Deputy Attorney General or Assistant Deputy
These new weekly, bi-weekly or monthly check-ins have continued well
after the urgent early days of the pandemic to facilitate regular discussions
between government and the judiciary about the work taking place in our
court system to respond to the evolving public health rules around COVID-19.
They have given me remarkable insight into the work of our chief justices,
chief judge and their associate chiefs in keeping our courts open—work that
should be recognized, because much of it is happening behind the scenes.
On the Provincial Court side, Chief Judge Gillespie, Associate Chief
Judge Wishart and Associate Chief Judge Dohm have been gathering
* The Honourable David Eby, Q.C., is British Columbia’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General.