Behind the scenes of the legal world

Lawyers Christine Murray

Lawyers Christine Murray

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, plus 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 showcases a number of 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 council 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, wills and estates lawyer for Victoria-based Berge, Hart, Cassels law firm.

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

emccracken@vicnews.com