Late last week, British Columbia Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Bauman was awarded the 2013 Bench Award by the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia. He took the opportunity to make some pointed comments about laywers having to “pull together” during this time of significant challenges both and in the profession and the justice system — not only in terms of access to justice but in failing confidence of the public in their legal representatives.
He offered a call to arms: “Now is a time for all of us to pull together; to remind our neighbours and our greater neighbourhoods that we are lawyers, members of a proud and caring profession. We are a critical profession in our respective communities.
He went on to say: “The willingness of government and the public to abandon lawyers and the courts as the dispute resolvers of choice is startling and disturbing.
“As a profession if we are not accessible and accountable and importantly, seen to be, we risk the possibility of losing all relevance.”
He also said: “Now is the time, I suggest, for all of us to wake up, speak up, and shake up.
- Wake up to the realities of these challenges;
- Speak up about our value and our critical relevance in the lives of ordinary Canadians; and
- Shake up our attitudes towards lawyering.”
Bauman’s full remarks have been posted to the court’s web site here.