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B.C. government appoints two new Provincial Court judges

By Contributor
April 15th, 2015

The B.C. government is appointing two new Provincial Court judges, to ensure the court is able to continue to address caseload pressures and improve access to justice, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton announced today.

In addressing recent retirements and vacancies, the appointments of Judge Patrick Doherty and Judge Dwight Stewart are effective April 23, 2015, and April 18, 2015, respectively.

Judge Doherty attended law school at the University of British Columbia and graduated in 1987.

Prior to law school, he graduated from the University of Western Ontario with his bachelor of arts. He was called to the bar in 1988 and practised criminal, civil and administrative law as both a prosecutor and defence counsel over the course of his 25-year legal career.

Judge Doherty spent three of those years as Crown counsel in Bermuda. He has chaired the Vancouver Canadian Bar Association criminal subsection and has lectured for the UBC law advocacy program.

Judge Doherty also participated in educating a number of delegations from China and Vietnam on Canada’s legal system.

Meanwhile, Judge Stewart attended law school at Queen’s University and graduated in 1994.

Prior to his legal education, he graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada with honours in history and political science. He was called to the bar in 1995 and practised regulatory defence and professional discipline law until 2012 when he became Crown counsel with the Ministry of Justice.

Throughout his 19 years as a practising lawyer, he was also an adjunct professor with UBC law school for 13 years, teaching a seminar course in criminal trial advocacy.

He is active in a number of professional associations and is currently the co-chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s criminal justice section. Judge Stewart has co-authored and presented a number of scholarly papers through the International Society for Reform of the Criminal Law.

Judge Doherty and Judge Stewart will each be assigned to a location determined by the chief judge to meet the needs of the court.

Government and the public rely on judges for their integrity and impartiality, and trust that they will deliver fair, learned decisions. These qualities are essential for maintaining the public’s confidence in the courts and are a vital component of a fair and equitable justice system.

Quick Facts:

The process to appoint judges involves several steps:

  • Interested lawyers apply and the B.C. Judicial Council, a committee made up of the chief judge, provincial court judges, lawyers and lay people, reviews the candidates.

    • The committee recommends potential judges to the Attorney General, with the final appointment made through a Cabinet order-in-council.

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