676 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2020
unless a person expressly indicates another preference. This is because I
want to ensure everyone is treated in the same way, with equal courtesy
Parties must feel this sacred Canadian legal concept of “equality for all”.
To date, I have not yet had an applicant or their legal counsel object to the
applicant being referred to as “Mr.” or “Ms.”, or even had someone express
a preference for first name designation. The one exception (that proves the
rule, in my opinion) was in a teleconference hearing where the applicant,
although a young adult, had an intellectual disability. The evidence was
that her IQ was 64. Over the telephone, in her tone of voice and use of
words, she presented as a young girl, perhaps nine or ten years old. She
introduced herself at the beginning of the hearing by using her first name
only, and her advocate also referred to her by first name. Therefore, it
seemed only natural to address the applicant by her first name; indeed, it
would have seemed pretentious and affected to do otherwise.
In the second and final part of this article, hopefully to be published in a
subsequent issue, I will discuss specific vocal techniques and how to apply
them in challenging hearing situations. The second part of this article will
also offer a few logistical “tips” to deal with common problems that arise
when using teleconference technology.
Finally, the article will conclude by exploring the idea of “pop-up courts”.
In this 2020 world health crisis, the Board has proved that it is possible to
capably conduct hearings and issue decisions in cases involving vulnerable
persons, often unrepresented. The Board accomplishes this without all the
elaborate, expensive trappings of a traditional courthouse. Could the
provincial government apply this model in other contexts such as the
provincial family justice system? How about “pop-up family justice rooms
… coming soon to a theatre near you”? Let’s ponder.
1. RSBC 1996, c 288.
2. 13 December 2006, 2515 UNTS 3 (No 44910)
3. Can TS 1992 No 3.
4. GA Res, UNGAOR, 61st Sess, Supp No 49, UN Doc
5. SBC 2004, c 45.
6. Online: <www.bcmhrb.ca/resources>.
7. At the time of writing, the BC government is in the
process of finding and developing a secure videoconference
technology suitable for the Board’s use.
8. Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone (New York:
Alfred A Knopf, 2009).