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Vancouver's Downtown Community Court
Community Court Team
Vancouver's Downtown Community Court is a unique partnership between the Provincial Court of B.C. and justice, social and health services agencies working to address the complex crime issues in the area.
Located in the courthouse are: a Provincial Court judge, a co-ordinator, a Crown counsel, a defence lawyer, a Vancouver police officer, sheriffs, court clerks, probation officers, forensic liaison workers, a forensic psychiatrist, a nurse, health-justice liaison workers, employment assistance workers, a victim services worker, a BC Housing support worker and a native courtworker.
A list of the agencies working together in the courthouse is below.
Judge Thomas Gove is Vancouver's Downtown Community Court presiding judge. Judge Gove was instrumental in the design and establishment of the court and is dedicated to reforming how crime is addressed in the community.
Called to the B.C. bar in 1974, Judge Gove's early professional years included criminal and youth defence work. In 1990, he was appointed to the Provincial Court of British Columbia where he has presided over criminal, youth, child and civil cases. From early 1994 to December 1995, he was the commissioner of the Gove Inquiry into Child Protection, which resulted in the redesign of B.C.'s child welfare system.
Judge Gove is the recipient of the 1996 Tony Pantages Medal from the Justice Institute of British Columbia. The award recognizes "a person in the justice system who has made a significant contribution to improving the system for the benefit of British Columbians."
Judge David Pendleton, in addition to other judicial assignments, will also sit in the Downtown Community Court. Since being called to the B.C. bar in 1976, Judge Pendleton practiced criminal, civil and family law until being appointed to the Provincial Court of British Columbia in 1987. He is past President of the Provincial Court Judges Association and was a member of the Judicial Council. He was formerly an Administrative Judge of the Provincial Court.
Judge Elizabeth Burgess, was called to the B.C. bar in 1983 and joined B.C.'s Prosecution Service in 1984. In addition to her work as a prosecutor in provincial, youth and Supreme Court, Judge Burgess worked as Administrative Crown counsel and helped establish the Province's first Disclosure Court. She was the director of special justice programmes for the prosecution service and chaired the Street Crime Working Group, which developed the recommendations for the community court. Judge Burgess was appointed to the Provincial Court in 2007.
Vancouver's Downtown Community Court partnership includes the following agencies and organizations:
- Provincial Court of British Columbia
- Ministry of Justice
- Court clerks
- Crown counsel
- Victim Services
- Ministry of Social Development
- Vancouver Coastal Health
- Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission
- Vancouver Police Department
- BC Housing
- Public Prosecution Service (Canada)
- Legal Services Society
- Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia