THE ADVOCATE 269
VOL. 78 PART 2 MARCH 2020
By the Honourable Suzanne Anton, Q.C.*
Provincial Court of British Columbia
New Indigenous Court in Williams Lake to Improve Delivery of Justice
Issued: 16 December 2019
Effective: April 2020
VANCOUVER, B.C. — Provincial Court Chief Judge Melissa Gillespie
announced today that British Columbia’s seventh Indigenous sentencing
court will open in Williams Lake in April 2020.
Indigenous Courts currently operate in six B.C. communities—New Westminster,
Duncan, Kamloops, North Vancouver, Merritt and Prince George.
The Indigenous Court working group in Williams Lake invited the Provincial
Court to work with them to develop a court process that could help
address the overrepresentation of Indigenous people involved in the criminal
As a result of their initiative, the Court was involved in the process of consultation
and planning with the Indigenous community, B.C.’s Ministry of
Attorney General, the community of Williams Lake, B.C. Community Corrections,
lawyers, the Legal Services Society, the Native Courtworker and
Counselling Association of B.C., the Law Foundation, police, and support
Today’s announcement is a significant step in the ongoing process of community
involvement in the creation of innovative solutions to improve the
delivery of justice. In May 2020, the Court will begin sitting monthly at the
Williams Lake courthouse.