B.C. court aims for user friendly web site

The Provincial Court in British Columbia's web site has a bold new look.

The court is continuing an ongoing update of its web site, with an electronic news service to publicize its initiatives and provide more information about its operations to lawyers and the public.

The court hopes to post informal news notes on a weekly basis, which can be accessed through its RSS feature, Twitter, or on the website itself.

Topics on the e-news feed will include “special projects and outreach efforts,” says Gene Jamieson, senior law officer for the provincial court.

The web site was relaunched last month, with a new design that Jamieson says is intended to be more user friendly.

The main screen is divided into various categories to ensure easy access in a number of areas, including past decisions, court locations and contact information, practice directions and forms for different court matters.

Much of this information was previously available online. The goal of the updated site is to present it “in a format and structure that makes the information easier to find,” says Jamieson.

Courts in B.C. were among the first in the country to post rulings online in a timely fashion. Since 2012, the provincial court in B.C. has used the CanLII, to distribute its decisions rather than post its own rulings. CanLII depends on the courts to send decisions to add to its database. On average, about 25 decisions per month from the provincial court in B.C., were posted on CanLII last year.

Jamieson says the court believes that the decisions are more accessible by having a direct link to the CanLII database on the court’s web site.

The website also includes a list of judges and where they preside, although they are identified only by their last name and first initial, including Chief Judge Thomas Crabtree.

The court is asking for input from the public and the legal community says Jamieson. And, say, if there is a request to include the first name of judges — who are now only listed with their initial — that is something that will be considered.

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