On February 12, 2004, the Attorney General filed in the Legislature the government’s response to the arbitration award to Crown Counsel as proposed in the “Taylor Report.” The response was a rejection of any increase in compensation for Crown Counsel, contrary to the Taylor award. The Crown Counsel Association presented the matter to CBABC Provincial Council on March 5, 2004, and Council directed that President Brun write to the Attorney General in support of Crown Counsel members. Here is the wording of the letter.
March 12, 2004
Dear Mr. Attorney General:
I write to advise you that at its most recent meeting on March 6, 2004, the Provincial Council of the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch resolved overwhelmingly to support the members of the Crown Counsel Association and call on the Government of BC to implement the Taylor arbitration award.
Those who are elected to represent the 10,000 lawyers of British Columbia believe that the Crown Counsel of BC have conducted themselves in good faith, binding themselves to the outcome of arbitration, and are long overdue for an adjustment in their salary range that not only reflects the market realities of their profession but also protects the government’s ability to attract and retain high quality lawyers in service to the Crown.
We recognize that there are fiscal constraints upon the government. However, we also recognize that the effective processing of legal disputes in criminal matters requires that the government provide adequate resources to support the legal expertise required for this task. In our view an efficient and experienced Crown Counsel service is also cost effective.
There are many facets to the justice system, but the work of Crown Counsel is the anchor on which all other parties rely. I can report to you that at the meeting at which this matter was discussed, there were representatives from all regions of the province, all areas of law, and perhaps, most significantly, from the defense bar, who rose to offer their unequivocal support and admiration for BC’s prosecutors. Without question, there is a recognition that this is a group of professionals that requires an urgent investment of resources for our justice system to work.
As a government which has declared itself dedicated to improving the justice system, and to improving outcomes inside and outside our courts, the Taylor arbitration award offers an opportunity to put that commitment into action. We ask that the government implement the Taylor award, without delay.
Robert Brun, President
Canadian Bar Association, British Columbia Branch
This article was published in the June 2004 issue of BarTalk. © 2004 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.