City Looks at New Way to Handle Bylaw Infractions
Prince George, B.C.- The City of Prince George is looking to be added to the list of communities that can handle their bylaw infraction cases outside of the court room.
The current system which requires a matter be heard before a Justice of the Peace, not only ties up the courts, but lengthy wait times for that court access is stressful for witnesses and staff. Bylaw Enforcement Manager Fred Crittenden says there are also the legal costs to consider, which he says are, typically $200 dollars an hour.
That’s a lot of money to deal with a disputed parking ticket.
Instead, Crittenden proposed the City look to going down the road to “adjudication”. He says there are certified adjudicators in Prince George, and the daily rate for a session is $400, a half day $200 dollars. He says there are also benefits in that the cases can be heard quicker, can be done over the phone or in person, and the person disputing the infraction still has the opportunity to take the matter to court if they are not happy with the decision of the adjudicator.
It also means both sides in the matter can simply submit their case to the adjudicator on paper and not have to appear , meaning they won’t lose a day of pay.
Crittenden says there is also an opportunity for some cost recovery, in that if the adjudicator rules in favour of the City, a fee can be attached to the outstanding ticket.
“This seems like a win all the way around” says Councillor Garth Frizell “It’s closer, its fair, there’s a chance for cost recovery.”