Appointment of Associate Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia

  • June 22, 2018

From Chief Justice Hinkson

I am pleased to advise that Madam Justice Heather Holmes has been appointed Associate Chief Justice to the Supreme Court effective immediately. 

Please join me in congratulating The Honourable Associate Chief Justice Holmes.

Christopher E. Hinkson
Chief Justice

From the Prime Minister of Canada

Prime Minister Trudeau ... announced the appointment of the Honourable Heather J. Holmes, a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, as Associate Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. She replaces the Honourable A.F. Cullen, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective January 1, 2018, after almost 17 years of distinguished service as a judge.


“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Heather J. Holmes as the new Associate Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. She is highly regarded for her expertise in criminal law, and brings with her a wealth of leadership experience gained over a 17-year judicial career.”
The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada


The Honourable Heather J. Holmes was appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 2001. Highly regarded for her expertise in criminal law, Justice Holmes has been actively involved in the Court’s administration and strategic planning over the course of her 17-year judicial career. She brings to her new role as Associate Chief Justice a strong sense of public service and a natural ability to bring people together.

Justice Holmes has assumed a leadership role on numerous initiatives aimed at improving the Supreme Court’s operations, efficiency, and response to new challenges. From 2015 to 2018, she chaired the Court’s Executive Committee, helping to guide the Court’s administration and its relationship with the public. A former member of the Court’s Education Committee, Justice Holmes has taught extensively on topics related to criminal law and procedure, and served as a faculty member for seminars offered by the National Judicial Institute.

Before her appointment to the bench, Justice Holmes practiced criminal law in Vancouver and Ottawa. A graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto, she began her legal career as a clerk in the British Columbia Court of Appeal. She joined the Ministry of the Attorney General of British Columbia as a Crown prosecutor in 1982, handling general prosecutions before focusing on commercial crime. From 1991 to 1995, Justice Holmes was counsel with the Criminal Law Policy Section within the federal Department of Justice in Ottawa, where she played a critical role developing amendments to the Criminal Code, including in the areas of sexual assault, criminal procedure, and jury selection.

Justice Holmes and her husband have two children and four grandchildren.