An amalgamation of the number of court districts in the province will see Golden part of a larger district, but won’t have any effect on daily operations at the Golden Court House.
The number of court regions in the province is being consolidated to five from 12, a move that geographically aligns the regions with those used by other government agencies and that will improve court management.
Chief Judge Thomas Crabtree, who proposed the change, also proposed that each of the five regions be administered by a regional administrative judge. Until the new positions are legislatively created, Crabtree has designated a judge for each region.
Golden is now part of the Interior Region, which will be administered by Judge Robin Smith out of Kelowna.
Nothing is expected to be affected in Golden, including the frequency and dates of court appearances.
An independent review, done by Geoffrey Cowper Q.C., recommended a clearer and modern governance structure for the justice system. As part of its response to the review, government committed in a white paper to making legislative changes leading to greater transparency, managerial authority and overall accountability with the justice system. That included support for realignment of the regional organization of the provincial court regions.
As well, under the Justice Reform and Transparency Act, the Provincial Court Act was amended on April 11, 2013, in consultation with the Office of the Chief Judge to acknowledge aspects of the chief judge’s authority over judicial administration.
The amendments provide the chief judge greater specific authority to manage the administration of the court, improving administrative efficiency.