BRITISH COLUMBIA

Mongolians aim to adopt aspects of Canadian legal system as they reform laws

01/15/2014 07:49 EST | Updated 03/17/2014 05:59 EDT
VANCOUVER - Mongolian officials are in British Columbia to learn about the Canadian criminal justice system, parts of which they aim to adopt in their own country.

Erdenebat Ganbat, deputy prosecutor general of Mongolia, said he is among 22 delegates meeting with police, Crown lawyers, judges and public-education officials during a visit to B.C. this week.

"The Canadian legal system is one of the (most) effective criminal justice systems in the world, and that's why our team is interested to research the whole Canadian criminal justice system," he said.

Ganbat said the group has also reviewed legal systems in Korea, Germany and several U.S. states, including Texas, but it will reform Mongolian law based on the adversarial aspects of the Canadian system.

He said he and two Mongolian prosecutors were in Vancouver and Kelowna in 2012 to research the Canadian system, and new laws could be drafted in Mongolia later this year.

Ganbat said while there are long wait times for Canadian trials, he hopes efficiencies in the Canadian system can be adopted to speed up the process for Mongolia's much-smaller population.

The group, which includes Mongolian judges, police, a Canadian embassy official and a politician, will meet in Ottawa next week with federal officials, including Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.

Wendy Kavanagh, a Crown lawyer in Kelowna, B.C., said she taught a course on advocacy and the Canadian legal system in Mongolia in February 2012.

"They're looking for knowledge and studying various legal systems to pull out what they can from each of the legal systems and put it into their legal system with a view of moving forward in their country," Kavanagh said.

Compared to Canada's adversarial system, Mongolia has an inquisitorial system, in which judges can question witnesses, she said.

The Mongolian delegates have already visited a court in Surrey, B.C., and met officials at the city's RCMP detachment. They are also expected to tour the B.C. Court of Appeal and B.C. Supreme Court.