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Crown Counsel Act

[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 87

Contents
1Definitions
2Functions and responsibilities of the Criminal Justice Branch
3Assistant Deputy Attorney General
4Responsibilities of Crown counsel
4.1British Columbia Crown Counsel Association Agreement
5Directions from Attorney General on specific prosecutions
6Policy directive from Attorney General
7Special prosecutors
8Delay in publication

Definitions

1  In this Act:

"ADAG" means the Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Criminal Justice Branch;

"Branch" means the Criminal Justice Branch of the Ministry of Justice;

"offence" means an offence

(a) under the Criminal Code or any other enactment of Canada with respect to which the Attorney General of British Columbia may initiate and conduct a prosecution, and

(b) under an enactment of British Columbia.

Functions and responsibilities of the Criminal Justice Branch

2  The Branch has the following functions and responsibilities:

(a) to approve and conduct, on behalf of the Crown, all prosecutions of offences in British Columbia;

(b) to initiate and conduct, on behalf of the Crown, all appeals and other proceedings in respect of any prosecution of an offence in British Columbia;

(c) to conduct, on behalf of the Crown, any appeal or other proceeding in respect of a prosecution of an offence, in which the Crown is named as a respondent;

(d) to advise the government on all criminal law matters;

(e) to develop policies and procedures in respect of the administration of criminal justice in British Columbia;

(f) to provide liaison with the media and affected members of the public on all matters respecting approval and conduct of prosecutions of offences or related appeals;

(g) any other function or responsibility assigned to the Branch by the Attorney General.

Assistant Deputy Attorney General

3  (1) The ADAG is charged with the administration of the Branch and with carrying out the functions and responsibilities of the Branch under section 2.

(2) The ADAG is designated, for purposes of section 2 of the Criminal Code, as a lawful deputy of the Attorney General.

Responsibilities of Crown counsel

4  (1) The ADAG may designate as "Crown counsel" any individual or class of individual who is lawfully entitled to practise law in British Columbia.

(2) Each Crown counsel is authorized to represent the Crown before all courts in relation to the prosecution of offences.

(3) Subject to the directions of the ADAG or another Crown counsel designated by the ADAG, each Crown counsel is authorized to

(a) examine all relevant information and documents and, following the examination, to approve for prosecution any offence or offences that he or she considers appropriate,

(b) conduct the prosecutions approved, and

(c) supervise prosecutions of offences that are being initiated or conducted by individuals who are not Crown counsel and, if the interests of justice require, to intervene and to conduct those prosecutions.

(4) The Attorney General may establish an appeal process under which law enforcement officials may appeal the determination of any Crown counsel or special prosecutor not to approve a prosecution.

British Columbia Crown Counsel Association Agreement

4.1  (1) In this section:

"BCCCA" means the British Columbia Crown Counsel Association, a society incorporated under the Society Act;

"Crown counsel" means an individual described in section 4 (1) who is an "employee" as defined in section 1 of the Public Service Act but does not include

(a) the Assistant Deputy Attorney General,

(b) the Director, Special Justice Programs,

(c) the Executive Director, Criminal Justice Branch,

(d) the Regional Crown counsel,

(e) the Deputy Regional Crown counsel,

(f) the Director, Criminal Appeals,

(g) the Director, Legal Services,

(h) the Communications Officer,

(i) the Director, Policy and Legislation,

(j) the Deputy Director, Commercial Crime,

(k) the Deputy Director, Criminal Appeals, and

(l) the persons in other positions specified by agreement of the employer and the BCCCA;

"employer" means the government represented by the BC Public Service Agency.

(2) The BCCCA is the exclusive bargaining agent for all Crown counsel and is authorized to enter into agreements with the employer which must include all matters affecting wages or salary, hours of work and other working conditions, except the following:

(a) the principle of merit and its application in the appointment and promotion of employees, subject to section 4 (3) of the Public Service Act;

(b) a matter included under the Public Sector Pension Plans Act;

(c) the organization, establishment or administration of the ministries and branches of the government, except the effect of reductions in establishment of employees, which must be negotiated by the parties;

(d) the application of the system of classification of positions or job evaluation under the Public Service Act;

(e) the procedures and methods of training or retraining of all employees not affected by section 15 of the Public Service Labour Relations Act, other than training programs administered with a branch or ministry that apply to one occupational group only.

(3) The employer and the BCCCA must bargain collectively in good faith and make every reasonable effort to conclude agreements referred to in subsection (2).

Directions from Attorney General on specific prosecutions

5  If the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General gives the ADAG a direction with respect to the approval or conduct of any specific prosecution or appeal, that direction must be

(a) given in writing to the ADAG, and

(b) published in the Gazette.

Policy directive from Attorney General

6  (1) If the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General wishes to issue a directive respecting the Criminal Justice Branch policy on the approval or conduct of prosecutions, that directive must be given in writing to the ADAG and, in the discretion of the ADAG, may be published in the Gazette.

(2) If the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General wishes to issue a directive respecting the administration of the Branch, that directive must, if requested by the ADAG, be given in writing and may, in the discretion of the ADAG, be published in the Gazette.

Special prosecutors

7  (1) If the ADAG considers it is in the public interest, he or she may appoint a lawyer, who is not employed in the Ministry of Justice, as a special prosecutor.

(2) A special prosecutor must carry out his or her mandate, as set out in writing by the ADAG, and in particular must

(a) examine all relevant information and documents and report to the ADAG with respect to the approval and conduct of any specific prosecution, and

(b) carry out any other responsibilities respecting the initiation and conduct of a specific prosecution.

(3) If the ADAG appoints a special prosecutor, the ADAG must advise the Deputy Attorney General

(a) that a special prosecutor has been appointed, and

(b) the name of the special prosecutor.

(4) If, after a special prosecutor receives the mandate under subsection (2), the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General or ADAG gives a direction to a special prosecutor in respect of any matter within the mandate of the special prosecutor, that direction must be given in writing and be published in the Gazette.

(5) Subject to the mandate given to the special prosecutor by the ADAG or to a directive referred to in subsection (4), the decision of a special prosecutor with respect to any matter within his or her mandate is final, but a decision not to approve a prosecution may be appealed by a law enforcement officer under the process established by section 4 (4).

Delay in publication

8  (1) The Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General or ADAG may direct publication in the Gazette of those matters referred to in section 5 or 7 be delayed if to do so would be in the interests of the administration of justice.

(2) A delay under subsection (1) must not extend beyond the completion of the prosecution or matter or any related prosecution or matter.