A Progression of Judges: A History of the Supreme Court of British Columbia

By David R. Verchere | Go to book overview
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A PROGRESSION OF JUDGES

A Progression of Judges tells the story of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, focusing on its often colourful and sometimes controversial judges. At the same time it chronicles the metamorphosis of the two young colonies--the Colony of Vancouver Island and the Colony of British Columbia--from a rough frontier to a sophisticated province as reflected in the maturing of the judicial system and growth of the legal profession.

By tracing the history of the court through the lives of its judges and certain major cases in which they were involved, David R. Verchere shows how the court was shaped by those who served on it to become the vibrant, social institution it is today.

As chief justices followed one another and the size of the court grew (it now has over thirty members), the kind of questions the court had to grapple with changed in nature from lengthy debates about its jurisdiction in divorce cases to labour disputes to a growing number of appeals from lower courts.

Backed by the Law Society and owing to the congested state of business in the Supreme Court--partly a result of Chief Justice Hunter's problem with alcohol and his epic battle with Mr. Justice Martin--the Court of Appeal Act 1907 was proclaimed in 1909, and the powers of the full court were transferred to this new court. No change was made to its name, but the Supreme Court of British Columbia ceased to be supreme. It nevertheless continued to play an important role in the province.

As a historical record of British Columbia's most important judicial institution, this book provides fascinating reading for anyone interested in the history of the province. For those in the legal profession it is a "must."

DAVID R. VERCHERE retired from the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 1981 after having served as a judge for close to 22 years.

-i-

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