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B.C.’s new top judge will work to demystify courts for ‘the people that we serve’ – Prince George Post

Jan 03, 2024

Leonard Marchand’s Indigenous heritage and work helping residential school survivors have helped inform his idea of the purpose of the courts

Leonard Marchand, the new chief justice of B.C., says he’s aware of the disconnect between the justice system and the community it serves.

He wants to change that.

“I don’t always surround myself in legal circles and that includes maintaining a home in Kamloops, and I kind of feel a bit of a disconnection between the court and the people that we serve,” Marchand, B.C.’s first Indigenous chief justice, said from his new office at the Vancouver Law Courts.

Marchand was appointed by the prime minister as B.C.’s top judge last month after spending the last decade as a judge in all three main B.C. courts. He replaces Robert Bauman, who retired in October. Marchand, who is Syilx — the Indigenous people of the Okanagan — and a member of the Okanagan Indian Band also became chief justice of the Yukon Court of Appeal.

Marchand said his main goals include improving access, removing barriers and ensuring the courts’ independence.

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