British Columbia’s judicial system now has a new state-of-the-art courthouse serving the Lower Mainland’s eastern communities.
After over two years of construction, the $157-million new Abbotsford Law Courts, located at 32375 Veteran’s Way next to city hall in Abbotsford city centre, is now open.
It is a 180,000 sq ft facility with 14 courtrooms, including eight for the Provincial Court, three for the Supreme Court, and three for case conferences, restorative justice, and Indigenous justice cases. Proceeding with the Court of Appeal can also be held at this location.
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Additionally, the consolidated facility will house community corrections, prosecution services, legal aid, duty counsel, Aboriginal court workers, a justice access centre, and an expanded courthouse library.
The new law court is not only double the capacity of the old courthouse and allows for future expansion, but it is fully equipped with the latest modern video conferencing technology to support remote appearances, which reduces the costs for litigants, lawyers, and the court.
“The Abbotsford courthouse has been the face of justice for people in Abbotsford, Mission and the surrounding areas of the Fraser Valley. The Provincial Court is delighted that the new Law Courts will provide the physical facilities needed to expand court services to better serve those communities,” said Melissa Gillespie, Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of BC, in a statement.
“The Provincial Court saw the collaborative process used to develop the new Law Courts as an opportunity to plan not just for 2021 but well into the future, incorporating innovative design and technology. We are excited by the opportunities the new building offers to improve access to justice in the Fraser Valley.”
This facility replaces the outdated old courthouse at 32203 South Fraser Way. It is the first new purpose-built court facility constructed in BC since the 2002 completion of the Chilliwack Law Courts.
The provincial government provided $152.2 million in construction finding, while the municipal government contributed $5.7 million for a land leasing arrangement over 60 years.
“The opening of the Abbotsford Law Courts with the new Provincial and Supreme Court facilities not only means better access to our justice system but also services and jobs for residents across the region,” said Henry Braun, the mayor of Abbotsford.
“The new Law Courts play a foundational role in the city’s civic precinct and our growing city centre. Abbotsford is extremely grateful to the Government of British Columbia for this significant investment in our city and our region.”