Chief Judge Thomas Crabtree, seen here (at left) in 2016 with retiring Judge Brian Saunderson, has been elevated to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. He will sit in Chilliwack. (Black Press file)

Chilliwack secondary graduate named to BC Supreme Court

Serving as Chief Judge of Provincial Court since 2010, Thomas Crabtree elevated to the high court

A Chilliwack secondary school graduate and well-respected local judge has been named to the B.C. Supreme Court.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announced on May 4 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.

Crabtree is admired and well-respected in the legal community, and is somewhat of a celebrity as he is the first judge in Canada to host Twitter town halls where users could ask questions under the hashtag, #AskChiefJudge.

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,” according to a press release issued by the Provincial Court of British Columbia.

Crabtree 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

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.

Crabtree was born in London, England, but grew up in the Upper Fraser Valley and attended Chilliwack secondary school. He graduated from the University of Victoria Law School and was called to the bar in 1984. For 15 years he practised in the area, and was named a provincial court judge in 1999.

And in 2010, he was named Chief Judge. In this capacity he oversaw the swearing in of new provincial court judges, including Chilliwack’s Andrea Ormiston.

Crabtree will sit in Chilliwack and his appointment replaces the late Justice Brian Joyce.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack lawyer named a provincial court judge

• RELATED: Chief judge reviews online provincial court records


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