Lions Under the Throne
"The twelve judges of the realm are as the twelve lions under Solomon's throne. They must be lions, but yet lions under the throne, being circumspect that they do not check or oppose any points of sovereignty."
"The King is under God and the law."
EDWARD COKE 1
The massive historical treatise by Scholefield and Howay entitled British Columbia is frugal in describing the matter to which we now turn. On page 667, with admirable brevity, it says:
While the Supreme Court consisted of Chief Justice and Judges Crease and Gray, George A. Walkem, who was then Attorney General and Premier, passed in 1878 and 1879 various Acts, whereby the Province was divided into four districts, Victoria, Westminster, Clinton, and Cariboo, and it was ordered that a judge should reside in or near a specified town in each district. These Acts also made provision for two more judges and directed that the work of the County Courts should be performed by the Supreme Court judges. They further directed that the Rules of Court should be prepared by the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council, who also should fix the dates of the sittings of the Court. The judges took umbrage at this attempt to coerce and control them.
Unfortunately, these few words are not sufficient here. Any examination of the history of the Supreme Court of British Columbia demands that more detail be given of the executive and legislative action that so provoked the judges, and their response. But first, one must take a brief look at the changes that were made by both the federal and provincial governments in their efforts to streamline and improve the province's