Calgary·Audio

Judge shortage in Alberta at crisis point, says lawyer

A Calgary lawyer says Albertans are not getting timely access to the courts because there are not enough judges in the province.

Dalton McGrath says 12 new justices are needed

A Calgary lawyer says Albertans are not getting timely access to the courts because there are not enough judges.

Dalton McGrath says the province has fewer Queen's Bench justices per capita than any other province.

He says it is at a critical point.

"It's really affecting families and many, many constituents in Alberta," said McGrath.

"Delays in criminal matters which can result in a stay of prosecution of accused parties charged with very serious criminal offences; family law matters involving the welfare of children are being delayed to the prejudice of those children; and commercial disputes are being substantially delayed which adds to costs and uncertainty to the economic drivers of the economy."

He says Alberta could do with 12 new justices.

McGrath says the province asked for four new positions, but so far the federal government has provided funding for only two.

"I know many of my colleagues, both inside the firm and outside the firm, are doing their best to inform the federal government — including MPs — of the crisis we have in Alberta," he said.

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