Contents



Ministry of Justice

Court Services Branch

News and Updates

Effective March 31, 2014, the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA), came into effect, modernizing estate law in BC and making probate easier for the public to use and understand. The new act includes new processes and new forms. To learn more about WESA, click here. The new forms are available here.

If you are administering an estate for a person for whom probate was not concluded prior to March 31, 2014 click here to learn more about how you may be affected.

February 5, 2014 –The Ministry of Justice has released the Lower Fraser Valley Regional Plan: Court Capacity Expansion Project report, developed in collaboration with the five municipalities in the region. The plan recommends that additional courtroom capacity be provided in Surrey and extended to Abbotsford, Langley and Chilliwack in future years as part of an overall plan to improve access to justice in one of the fastest growing regions in the province. Read the news release and report.

Overview

Court Services Branch (CSB) is responsible for the delivery of all court administration and security services in British Columbia. The branch provides service to the three levels of court and to the public, ensuring the safety and security of all court participants, the smooth running of court and the timely processing of court documentation.

There are 89 court locations throughout the province, 45 of which are staffed and include registry services. The remaining 44 locations are circuit court sites which are staffed on court hearing days.

Court Services has three divisons:

Court Administration

This division is responsible for the provision of court clerks to court, the operation of court registries, arranging court interpreter services, managing court files and providing information to the public.

Services include:

  • case documentation, initiation and processing;
  • fine payment processing;
  • file and exhibit management;
  • preparation and distribution of court orders; and
  • ensuring court records access policies are adhered to.

You can read more about Court Administration here.

B.C. Sheriff Services

This division is responsible for ensuring the safety of all justice system participants, including judiciary, legal counsel, accused and the public while on court property or during transport.

Sheriff services include:

  • escorting prisoners by ground and air to and from remand facilities for court appearances;
  • providing  security in courtrooms;
  • managing the jury selection process; and
  • providing threat assessment and management services to the judiciary, Crown counsel and provincial government ministries (on request).

You can read more about the B.C. Sheriff Services here.

Headquarters

This area leads the strategic business and financial planning for the branch and provides support to the field through the provision of financial services, legislative analysis, policy and procedure development and technical support  

Legislative Mandate

The role of Court Services Branch is prescribed in legislation through the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court, Provincial Court and Sheriff Acts.

The Provincial Court, Supreme Court and Court of Appeal Acts require the appointment of a Chief Administrator of Court Services to direct and supervise facilities, registries and administrative services for the court. 

The Chief Court Administrator position is unique in government as it receives direction in matters of judicial administration from the Attorney General, the Supreme Court Chief Justice the Provincial Court Chief Judge and the Chief Justice of British Columbia.

The Sheriff Act allows for the appointment of a director of sheriff services, who is responsible to the Minister of Justice for the administration of the Act, the direction of sheriff services generally and the establishment and maintenance of programs for the selection and training of sheriffs and other persons appointed under the Act.  The director is also a sheriff by statute.

Within Court Services Branch, the roles of Chief Administrator of Court Services and Director of Sheriffs are performed by the Assistant Deputy Minister of Court Services.