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.