A behind-the-scenes look at the legal world

Law Day offers family-friendly events

Harry Potter will need all of his magic to get out a tough legal predicament he soon faces.

His character – or rather, a lawyer dressed as the young fictitious magician – will take the stand in B.C. Supreme Court in a fairy tale mock trial, an annual highlight of Law Day, on April 16.

The public will be given a special all-access pass to see the legal community in action at the Victoria courthouse on a Saturday, when it is typically closed.

“Often people are in the courthouse for a reason they don’t want to be, and this gives them an opportunity to come (take part) in sort of a celebration,” said Victoria lawyer Christine Murray, who is helping organize the free legal showcase. “So it gives people a more friendly face to their courthouse and their justice system.”

Organized by the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Bar Association as part of Law Week (April 9 to 16), the event includes a provincial mock trial competition with Glenlyon Norfolk students, demonstrations of police canine teams, a tour of the courthouse jail cells and sheriffs’ vehicles and a police presentation on ecstasy drug awareness. There will also be a question-and-answer community forum, as well as a passport to justice treasure hunt.

“It’s a great opportunity to see what happens in the courthouse and see some revered (legal) figures in the community in an informal setting,” Murray said.

The event will showcase a number of different legal careers, from registry clerks to judges to lawyers and police officers, which may inspire young visitors to follow a legal career path.

Murray was a Grade 5 student when she played the part of defence counsel in a mock trial.

“We got to wear the graduation robes as lawyer gowns,” she recalled.

The experience inspired her to pursue her dream profession. Today she is a family and wills and estates lawyer for Victoria-based Berge, Hart, Cassels law firm.

“It’s a huge field and there’s tons of different areas for people with all different interests,” Murray explained. “There’s more than just ‘I want to be a lawyer when I grow up.’”

Law Day events happen April 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Victoria courthouse, 850 Burdett Ave. For details, please visit www.bclawweek.org.

emccracken@vicnews.com

Did you know?

B.C. residents can receive 15 minutes of free legal advice from a lawyer by calling the Dial-A-Law program at 1-800-663-1919 on April 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Chinese-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-800-687-3404.