In memoriam: The Honourable Lance S.G. Finch

  • September 01, 2020

From Chief Justice Robert Bauman 

The Honourable Lance S.G. Finch passed away in the presence of his family on 30 August 2020, after a trip to his much loved summer retreat.

As Chief Justice of British Columbia Lance Finch led the Court of Appeal for British Columbia and the Court of Appeal of Yukon from 2001 to 2013.

He was first appointed to the bench as a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 1983. After serving the trial court for 10 years he was appointed to the Court of Appeal where he served from 1993 to 2001, before being appointed Chief Justice.

Lance was born in Edmonton Alberta, and lived there until 1951 when his family moved to Victoria, British Columbia. He attended law school at UBC, graduating in 1962. He articled to Frank Collier, Q.C. of Guild Yule Schmidt Lane Collier and Hinkson (now Guild Yule LLP) and was called to the bar in 1963. He built a wide ranging litigation practice that included insurance defence, plaintiff’s injury claims, municipal law and general commercial litigation. Following his retirement from the bench in 2013, Lance returned to Guild Yule LLP as associate counsel and continued to provide advice on trial and appellate matters, mediations and arbitrations.
His honours and awards are many and include the 2002 Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, the 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the 2013 UBC Law Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2015. In 2017 he was appointed to the Order of British Columbia, the province’s highest form of recognition.

The judges of British Columbia in all Courts mourn the passing of Lance Finch. He led the Court of Appeal for British Columbia and the Court of Appeal of Yukon for over 12 years. As a judicial leader he was strong, steady and humble. He always commanded the respect of the legal profession in our province and his legacy of significant jurisprudence is acknowledged across Canada. Lance Finch was a good colleague, a good friend, and a great judge. The legal profession extends its most sincere condolences to his wife Judy and Lance’s extended family.