A lawyer with 35 years of experience will serve as a judge at the Port Coquitlam courthouse after the provincial government announced a batch of bench appointments Wednesday.
Patricia Janzen has extensive experience with mediation at the Labour Relations Board, the Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, according to a release from the Ministry of Attorney General. She is also on the board of directors for the Canadian Mental Health Association's B.C. division.
The province also announced the appointment of eight other judges on Wednesday, who will be serving in communities across British Columbia.
Four will serve in the Lower Mainland, two were placed in Prince George and the last three were appointed to Nanaimo, Smither and Penticton. The assignments, according to the province, are based on the court's needs throughout the province and take into account caseload demands and recent transfers.
In a press release Attorney General Shirley Bond hinted that further announcements in support of the criminal justice system could be on the way.
"In the coming days, we'll be looking very closely at larger reform of the system and specifically how we can find efficiencies and long-term solutions to the pressures our courts are facing, instead of just looking at more funding as the only answer," she said. "We will continue to work with the judiciary, the legal profession and others in the system to come up with common-sense ideas to help us do this."
The total cost to the taxpayer to support one provincial court judges is approximately $1.4 million annually, including salary, court administration staff, sheriffs and prosecution services.
Since February 2010 23 new provincial court judges have been appointed in B.C.
APPOINTING A JUDGE
The process of appointing a judge takes several steps.
Interested lawyers apply to the B.C. Judicial Council, a committee made up of the chief judge, other judges, lawyers and lay people, who review the candidates.
The council then recommends potential judges to the attorney general.
The final appointments are made through a cabinet order-in-council.
To learn more go to www.provincialcourt.bc.ca.