Expanded Surrey Courthouse ready to begin operations
An expansion to the Surrey Courthouse has added new courtrooms and other features to further support access to justice in the rapidly growing lower Fraser Valley.
“Our government is committed to providing a justice system that serves all British Columbians,” said David Eby, Attorney General, who conducted a tour of the courthouse today alongside Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens’ Services, and members of the justice and media communities. “The Surrey Courthouse has one of the largest caseloads in the province, and this expansion project will help deliver a court system that is able to hear and resolve these cases in a timely manner.”
Renovations to the courthouse began in 2016. Three new courtrooms and two hearing rooms were added, including a high-security courtroom for special-situation trials and a high-volume courtroom for preliminary and bail hearings. New features, which are consistent with technology used by counsel and police, such as touch-screen monitors for advanced evidence presentation, are available in the new courtrooms.
To boost building security, metal detectors and a walkthrough personal screener have been added to the courthouse’s redesigned front entrance. A ballistic glass wall in the high-security courtroom divides the public gallery from the main courtroom.
“We’re investing in critical public infrastructure, like the expansion of the Surrey Courthouse, to support rapidly growing communities, create local jobs and make life better for British Columbians,” said Sims. “This beautifully renovated courthouse is a shining example of what we can strive toward in our CleanBC Government Building Program. As a resident of Surrey, this building will help protect this community and ensure people have access to critical supports and services for years to come.”
The expanded courthouse will house a new Justice Access Centre (JAC), which will provide comprehensive services designed to address family and civil non-family issues. The Surrey Courthouse has the highest number of family law applications in the province, leading to a significant demand for Family Justice Services and community resources. The variety of services offered by the JAC are well suited to meet the needs of the community.
Construction and commissioning on the courthouse are complete and operations are ready to begin.
- The total budget for the expansion project was $33.5 million, including $27 million in construction costs. The remaining $6.5 million accounted for furniture and fittings, as well as design fees and municipal fees.
- Other new courtroom features include:
- enhanced video and audio feeds for the public and media to view evidence and courtroom proceedings from the public gallery and media room;
- videoconference equipment and audio recording systems that are highly integrated with the evidence presentation system;
- wheelchair-accessible witness boxes; and
- barrier-free environments for the hearing impaired.
- The annual operating budget for the Surrey JAC is $1.05 million.
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