100 100 V O L . 7 6 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8 THE ADVOCATE
and entreaties from Chief Judge Thomas Crabtree stressing the importance
of building diversity on the bench.
In particular, the Judicial Council of B.C. changed its judicial application
forms in June 2013 so that applicants could voluntarily provide information
about their ethnicity or culture should they wish to do so. Since this time
each annual report includes a summary of this information.
In 2016 the Judicial Council reported that 17 of 43 applicants did volunteer
information about ethnicity and/or culture. Individuals self-identified
as Indigenous, Chinese, Indo-Canadian, South Asian, East Indian, Filipino,
Jewish, Hungarian, Western European, child of European immigrants, parent
of adopted children from outside Canada, and LGBTQ.
Although many judges take on this role informally, we do not have government
scouts out in the courtrooms recruiting fresh judicial talent.
Interested lawyers have to apply, the Judicial Council vets those applicants
and, if applicants meet the council’s requirements, those names will
show up on a list of possible appointees for the consideration of the Attorney
Hopefully it is me reviewing those names with the support of the council
and our Chief Judge. But even if it is not me, know that while Attorney
Generals in British Columbia may come and go, the list of approved judicial
candidates carries on to the next Attorney General as well.
The twin challenges of diversity on the bench and encouraging lawyers
generally to consider applying and go through the vetting process are not
unique to B.C. However, I hope that B.C.’s lawyers will join our Chief Judge
and Judicial Council in recognizing that we have more work to do and will
help us take on a national leadership role in addressing it.