Chief Judge Thomas J. Crabtree appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia

  • May 04, 2018

From Chief Justice Hinkson

I am pleased to advise that Thomas J. Crabtree has been appointed to the Supreme Court effective immediately and will be resident in Chilliwack. 

Please join me in congratulating The Honourable Mr. Justice Crabtree.

Christopher E. Hinkson
Chief Justice

From the Department of Justice Canada

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointment under the new judicial application process announced on October 20, 2016. The new process emphasizes transparency, merit, and diversity, and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity.

The Honourable Thomas J. Crabtree, a Judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia, is appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Chilliwack. He replaces the late Mr. Justice B.M. Joyce, who had elected to become a supernumerary judge effective April 4, 2016.

Biography

Justice Thomas J. Crabtree was born in London, England and grew up in the Upper Fraser Valley of British Columbia. He is a graduate of the University of Victoria Law School and was called to the British Columbia Bar in 1984. Justice Crabtree practiced in the Fraser Valley for the better part of 15 years, assisting clients in a broad range of legal matters. In 1999, Justice Crabtree was appointed to the Provincial Court of British Columbia, where he served the court and the people of British Columbia for just over 19 years. In 2010, Justice Crabtree was appointed Chief Judge and served in this capacity until his appointment to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. 

During Justice Crabtree’s term as Chief Judge, a number of initiatives were undertaken in an effort to enhance the effectiveness and accessibility of the court. A lasting highlight during this period was the opportunity to engage with communities throughout the province and support the development of five Indigenous courts (North Vancouver, Duncan, Kamloops, Merritt and Prince George), as well as a new child protection initiative in New Westminster. The latter initiative was an enhanced court-based mediation process guided by Elders for Indigenous families and children. Throughout his career, Justice Crabtree has been committed to judicial education. He has been a regular presenter and contributor to judicial education programs and served as a governor of the National Judicial Institute.

Justice Crabtree’s commitment to public service has been inspired by his parents, his wife Brenda and their two children.

From the Provincial Court of BC

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announced today that Thomas J. Crabtree, Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia, has been appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Chilliwack.

Judge Crabtree has served the people of British Columbia for 19 years as a Provincial Court Judge, and as the Court’s Chief Judge for the past eight years. His accomplishments in that role include working with communities around the province to support the development of five new Indigenous and First Nations sentencing courts in North Vancouver, Duncan, Kamloops, Merritt and Prince George, and Aboriginal child protection case conferences in New Westminster.

Committed to improving the public’s access to justice, Chief Judge Crabtree oversaw the development and implementation of a new trial scheduling model and served on the executive of Access to Justice B.C.. He has also been a leader in Canadian judicial education, serving on the Board of Directors of the National Judicial institute and as a frequent speaker at education programs for judges and others.

Chief Judge Crabtree demonstrated his commitment to openness, accountability, and public access to information by hosting two live Twitter Town Halls. The first judge in Canada to engage directly with the public in this way, during each of these events he responded to tweeted questions for a two hour period. Under his leadership the Court became a justice system leader with its online communications, including an expanded plain language website, bi-weekly news articles, and an active Twitter account with a conversational tone.

Acting Chief Judge Melissa Gillespie said, “I know the Court’s Judges, Judicial Justices and staff join me in congratulating Chief Judge Crabtree on his appointment. We wish him the very best in his new role, but we will miss his thoughtful leadership, endless energy, and openness to innovative solutions to the challenges facing the Court.”