Local appointed provincial court judge
The British Columbia government is appointing seven new provincial court judges, including one from Cranbrook, to address upcoming retirements to ensure the judiciary has the resources to continue to provide access to justice.
The appointments and effective dates are: Judge Cathaline Heinrichs – Jan. 3, 2017; Judge Cassandra Malfair – Jan. 9, 2017; Judge Susan Mengering – Jan. 9, 2017; Judge Brian Hutcheson – Jan. 16, 2017; Judge Peter LaPrairie – Jan. 16, 2017; Judge Lynal Doerksen – Jan. 30, 2017; Judge Patricia Stark – Jan. 30, 2017
Judge Lynal Doerksen has practiced in many areas of litigation, including family, employment, commercial, personal injury and criminal and has appeared before all levels of court in B.C. and Alberta. After receiving an LLB from the University of Alberta, Doerksen served as Crown counsel in Alberta and since 2005 has been administrative Crown counsel in Cranbrook. He has been published in the Criminal Law Quarterly and the Advocate.
Government and the public rely on judges for their integrity and impartiality and trust 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 any democratic justice system, a Ministry of Justice press release explained.
British Columbia’s judicial system is recognized as one of the best in the world because of the diversity, experience and knowledge of its judges. The chief judge determines the locations to which judges are assigned in order to meet the needs of the court, the ministry stated.
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, other 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.
Although judges are located in a judicial region, many travel regularly throughout the province to meet changing demands.
Lead image: Then Crown Counsel, Lynal Doerksen, right, addresses media outside the Cranbrook B.C. Provincial Courthouse during an August 2012 Randall Hopley court appearance. e-KNOW file photo