About B.C.'s justice system
British Columbians expect the justice system to keep their communities safe and to provide certainty, proportionality and, above all, fairness when it deals with criminal, civil and family law matters. They expect an accessible system that overcomes barriers like distance, and which makes information and options clear. And they expect the system to be affordable. The B.C. government is transforming justice services in ways that meets these expectations.
The justice access centres are the place to come when you need help with family and civil law issues that affect your everyday life, such as separation or divorce, income security, employment, housing or debt. We offer a range of information and services designed to help people find an early and affordable solution.
Mediation and arbitration are ways that people can settle their disputes out of court. These alternative dispute resolution options provide confidentiality and can be faster and less expensive than going to court. Mediators help parties try to come to an agreement. Arbitrators have the power to make a binding decision.
The Ministry of Attorney General often consults with British Columbians on legislation and policy. One method is to publish a discussion paper with an invitation to the public to respond. Another means is to use an online survey to solicit input. Public feedback is important because it helps government shape new laws and policies.
Under the Public Inquiry Act, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may issue an order establishing a commission to inquire into and report on a matter of public interest. The Lieutenant Governor in Council may also enter into agreements to establish a joint commission with another government or an Indigenous organization.
The B.C. government is modernizing and transforming justice services in a way that meets the needs of British Columbians. In particular, it is aiming to create a transparent justice system capable of delivering timely, well-balanced services.
The Judicial Compensation Act requires that an independent commission be appointed every three years to consider and report on all matters respecting the remuneration, allowances and benefits of judges and judicial justices.
The British Columbia Supreme Court Civil & Family Rules Committee (the "Rules Committee") provides advice and makes recommendations on changes to the Supreme Court Rules that are fair, sustainable and have the public's confidence.
Tribunals perform adjudicative or regulatory functions in the public justice system. They are established by statute and are essential to the governance of the province. They administer rules for everyday things like employment, housing, health and industry. A tribunal may be referred to as a “board” or “commission.”