Wally is an experienced legal counsel, litigator, and strategic advisor, specializing in mediation and arbitration matters, as well as commercial disputes involving business, government, and First Nations.
Leveraging his certified training as an International Arbitrator, Wally’s expertise in resolving complex conflicts related to business operations, contracts, and regulations have made him a sought-after resource for clients and businesses across British Columbia (B.C) and beyond.
A mediator certified by the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine, California, Wally is a strong proponent of alternate dispute resolution. With a pragmatic and impartial approach to every dispute, Wally brings extensive legal knowledge and cultural awareness to his files, assisting productive discussions to reach mutually accepted solutions.
A lifetime resident of B.C., Wally has dedicated his entire working life to the pursuit of social justice and community safety. From his time as a trial lawyer and special prosecutor, to serving as Attorney General and sitting as a judge in the Supreme Court of B.C., for more than 55 years, Wally has made significant contributions to the legal industry through his innovative and impactful work.
Wally has received numerous awards for his years of public service—including the Order of B.C.(2017)—and holds honorary doctorates from Thompson Rivers University (2022), Simon Fraser University (2021), and the University of the Fraser Valley (2010).
Select Professional Achievements:
Provincial Policing Reform
From 2020 to 2022, Wally served as a committee member for the report from the B.C. Legislative Assembly’s Select Standing Committee on the Rural and Remote Access to Justice. The 2022 committee report highlights the need for better access to legal services, greater collaboration between various justice sector organizations and emphasizes the importance of addressing the unique cultural and linguistic needs of Indigenous peoples in rural and remote communities. He—along with other committee members—recommended the enhancement of delivery of legal services to ensure that British Columbians have access to a fair and efficient justice system.
In 1992, while sitting on the Supreme Court, Wally was appointed to conduct a commission of inquiry into policing in B.C., after several high-profile shootings involving police and the public. After holding over fifty days of public hearings, the commission filed the Closing the Gap: Policing and The Community report, which led to many reforms in policing, both in B.C. and across Canada.
International Dispute Resolution
In 2018, Wally was the only Canadian panelist included in the drafting of the CUSMA—a trade agreement to replace NAFTA between Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Aimed at promoting and expanding trade between the three countries, Wally and other panelists helped design the provisions to enhance cooperation on labor and environment, modernizing the North American trade relationship and increasing economic growth and competitiveness.
Wally also acts as a Canadian representative on the Chapter 10 Binational Panel for CUSMA Dispute Settlements.
Wills Variation Act:
During Wally’s tenure as Attorney General of B.C., he was a vocal advocate for retaining sections of the Wills Variation Act that permitted non-dependent adult children to contest disinheritance on the basis of just and equitable distribution of the estate. Wally—along with others in government and the public—argued keeping the provision embolden more women to fight for equality in their inheritance without fear of consequences.
Civil & Criminal Justice
Wally was appointed as Attorney General of B.C. and Minister for Multiculturalism in 2005. For the next 4 years, Wally led many significant reforms in the Civil and Criminal Justice systems including the establishment of a Community Court which sought to address the issue of chronic offenders in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
The rules of the Supreme Court were also reformed to include mandatory Alternative Dispute Resolution in many cases—an update aimed as speeding up access to justice. During his years as Attorney General, Wally was a vocal advocate for woman seeking justice from violence, engaging with numerous community forums across the province.
The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry
In 2010, Wally was appointed to lead the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry into the Robert Pickton murders. The B.C. commission was established to evaluate law enforcement’s response to the disappearance and death of numerous women—many of them Indigenous—from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside between 1997 and 2002.
The commission was given the mandate to examine the actions of the police and government agencies in response to the disappearances and deaths, as well as recommend changes to improve the coordination of investigations and protect vulnerable women. Over 2 years, the commission spoke with 83 witnesses and reviewed countless documents before issuing its final report and 65 recommendations.
International Public Safety
In 1994, the newly elected government of South Africa appointed Wally—along with three others—to conduct an investigation and make recommendations on access to justice in the post-apartheid country. The committee spent five weeks in South Africa holding public meetings with many groups and subsequently issued a report to the government with recommendations on how to better serve the public in the areas of public safety, and civil and criminal justice.
After graduating from the UBC Law School in 1966, Wally became a trial lawyer for 14 years. During that time, he was appointed as a Special Prosecutor by the Attorney General on many high-profile criminal cases, including over fifty homicide cases. He was also a Special Prosecutor on numerous commercial crime and drug cases.
Wally served as a judge in the County Court of B.C. from 1981 to 1985, and in the B.C. Supreme Court from 1985 to 2003, when he was appointed to the B.C. Court of Appeal before stepping down in 2005.
Political Office & Judiciary:
Member of the B.C. Legislative Assembly – Vancouver Fraserview (2005 – 2009)
B.C. Attorney General & Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism (2005 – 2009)
Judge – County Court of B.C. (1981 – 1985)
Judge – Supreme Court of B.C. (1985 – 2003)
Judge – B.C. Court of Appeal (2003-2005)