The Government of British Columbia is appointing a new acting chief judge, following Chief Judge Thomas Crabtree’s appointment to the B.C. Supreme Court on May 4, 2018.
The new acting chief judge is Melissa Gillespie, who has served the province as an associate judge since 2016. Gillespie was born and grew up in Calgary. She received her law degree from the University of Toronto, and was called to the B.C. bar in 1991. From 2000 until 2003, she served as administrative Crown counsel in Surrey, and then served as regional Crown counsel for the Fraser region. Appointed a Queen’s counsel (QC) in 2009, Gillespie was sworn in as a provincial court judge in February 2012.
Since then, she has presided in the Fraser region. In addition to sitting assignments, Gillespie has been active in delivering education programs to judges and judicial justices, as well as to the larger legal community and beyond, including her participation in a Justice Education Society project to strengthen the criminal justice system in Guyana. She was also active as a member of the executive of the B.C. Provincial Court Judges Association for several years.
Crabtree was appointed a judge of the provincial court in February 1999, and was initially assigned to the North Fraser District, before moving to the South Fraser District in 2000. He was appointed chief judge of the provincial court in April 2010.
Government and the public rely on judges for their integrity and impartiality, and trust they will deliver fair, learned decisions. These qualities are essential for maintaining the public’s confidence in the courts, and are a vital component of any democratic justice system.