Statement by B.C. Provincial Court Judge Melissa Gillespie on Duty Counsel Day
Every day in many courts across the province, duty counsel is actively representing people who are struggling to find access to justice.
Many of these people have been arrested and are now facing criminal charges where their liberty interests are engaged.
Others are in family court, where they are making application for child support, parenting time and other important legal issues related to their families when their family relationships have broken down.
Still, other people are in court on child protection matters involving their children and families.
Your commitment to support people as duty counsel in a timely way to help them understand the legal consequences of the issues that they are facing improves their experiences and outcomes in the justice system.
For example, you help people identify community-based programming that may assist them in meeting some of their legal needs. You help them make timely decisions, where legal problems are complex and multi-faceted.
Thank you for all of the work you do and for your commitment to justice. The justice system depends very much on you and your dedication to the rule of law and providing timely legal advice and information to people whose legal needs are pressing.