Meet our Board of Directors: Mark Benton, K.C.
Committed to promoting sound administration of justice since 1974, CIAJ prides itself on supporting the legal community at all levels. CIAJ would like to warmly thank its board members for sharing their skills and working to improve the justice system with heart and wisdom for the benefit of society as a whole. CIAJ’s actions and programs would not be possible without the dedication of these outstanding professionals.
What does CIAJ mean to you?
CIAJ is an important network of people committed to making justice work in Canada.
How long have you been a member of the CIAJ board of directors?
Six years [since 2015].
What is the most important event you have participated in with CIAJ?
The 2015 Annual Conference that addressed the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) Reports.
Why is it important for you to be active and involved outside your job?
In Canada, justice is a number of independent but interdependent institutions. For Canadians to derive the full benefit of Canada’s justice system, it is necessary for the institutions and leadership to interact effectively. The CIAJ is an important venue for this activity.
What do you like the most about your job?
The opportunity to make a difference every day.
Is there a cause you feel strongly about?
Access to justice in its many dimensions.
Do you think that justice evolves with society? Faster/slower?
What do you think about the Internet exposure of legal cases?
It is a reality on our lives.
What is the greatest challenge you have faced along the way?
Conveying to justice leaders the importance of thinking systemically.
When you chose to study law, were you thinking of pursuing a career as a lawyer?
What else would you have liked to do if you had not become a lawyer?
What do you do in your free time, do you have a hobby?
Is there a message you would like to pass on to the new generation of lawyers? If you could talk to yourself when you were 20 years old what would you say?
Mastering the discipline of law is important but it is not even close to everything you will need to do to have an engaging career in law.
About Mark Benton, K.C.
CIAJ Board of Directors Member (Observer) since 2015
Former CEO of Legal Aid BC
Mark Benton has been a lawyer since 1980 and has served as the CEO of Legal Aid BC since 2002. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2008. His legal experience includes small office practice, legal aid work, appellate advocacy, and four years as an adjunct professor at the UBC Faculty of Law. He is past chair of the Association of Legal Aid Plans of Canada is a Canadian Forum for Civil Justice board member and is an active participant on a number of prominent government and non-government collaborations addressing justice issues of importance to Canadians, including the steering committee of the Action Committee on Civil and Family Justice and the Reinventing Criminal Justice Forum. Mark has served as an advisor to governments and NGOs on the development of legal aid programs in the Caribbean, East Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia’s Pacific region.
He has an active interest in making justice systems more effective in responding to people’s needs. He is regularly invited to speak on topics related to legal aid, not-for-profit governance, and justice innovation. Mark has been recognized in the BC legislature as “a passionate advocate for access to justice for the economically disadvantaged in British Columbia, and he brings along with that passion great creativity in the search for solutions for how to make a difference in people’s lives.” He has been a CIAJ Board member since 2015.