Alberta tables legislation to require prospective judges to undergo sexual assault law education

Federal government and P.E.I. have similar legislation in place

Alberta tables legislation to require prospective judges to undergo sexual assault law education

The Alberta government has tabled legislation to enhance sexual assault law education for prospective provincial court judges, announced the Office of the Premier of Alberta.

Bill 14, or the Provincial Court Amendment Act, aims to reduce the risk of having sexual assault victims revictimized during a trial and ensure that everyone in the courtroom will be treated with respect and dignity in the pursuit of justice.

“Any modern justice system has a responsibility to make sure it keeps pace with the times and this includes bolstering an understanding of how sexual violence operates, how it affects victims, and how courtrooms can be a safer environment for victims,” Premier Jason Kenney said. “Bill 14, if passed, will help support and protect vulnerable Albertans.”

In particular, the proposed legislation will require candidates seeking an appointment to the Provincial Court of Alberta to undergo mandatory education on matters relating to sexual assault law and social context.

Moreover, once the proposed legislation takes effect, candidates on the appointment eligibility list must complete the mandatory sexual assault law education or commit to finishing it after their appointment.

According to the premier’s office, this mandatory sexual assault law education aims to foster stronger confidence in the administration of justice, encourage more reporting of sexual assaults, and engage victims, Indigenous communities, and people from minority and vulnerable populations in the criminal justice system.

Currently, the federal government and Prince Edward Island have legislation requiring candidates to complete sexual assault law education to be eligible for judicial appointment. Manitoba also introduced similar legislation in Nov. 2021.

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