Associate Chief Judges

Under section 10(1) of the Provincial Court Act, Associate Chief Judges are designated by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, usually for a term of three years, which may be renewed. Subject to the direction of the Chief Judge, an Associate Chief Judge has the same powers and duties as the Chief Judge.

The Provincial Court currently has two Associate Chief Judges:

Associate Chief Judge Melissa Gillespie

Associate Chief Judge Gillespie was born and grew up in Surrey, BC. She received her law degree from the University of Toronto and was called to the BC Bar (licensed to practise law in BC) in 1991. Soon after that, she began her legal career as Crown Counsel working in New Westminster, Surrey and Burnaby. From 2000 until 2003, she served as Administrative Crown Counsel in Surrey. She then became Deputy Regional Crown Counsel, and in 2005 Regional Crown Counsel for the Fraser Region. Appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 2009, Associate Chief Judge Gillespie was sworn in as a Provincial Court judge in February, 2012.

Since then, she has presided in the Fraser Region. In addition to sitting assignments, Associate Chief Judge Gillespie has been active in delivering education programs to judges and judicial justices, as well as to the larger legal community. During the last year she has participated in a Justice Education Society project to strengthen the criminal justice system in Guyana. She was also active as a member of the executive of the BC Provincial Court Judges Association for several years.

Associate Chief Judge Susan Wishart

Associate Chief Judge Wishart obtained a Masters of Science degree from Queen’s University in 1990, followed by a law degree from the University of Victoria in 1994. She was called to the BC Bar in 1995 and began her legal career with a Victoria law firm. She then worked as a contractor for various Ministries of the Provincial Government and as a Clinical Instructor in the University of Victoria Law School. In 1998 she returned to private practice, mainly in the area of criminal law, and conducted cases at all court levels. During her time as a lawyer Associate Chief Judge Wishart was active in the Canadian Bar Association. She chaired the Victoria criminal law sub-section, was an elected member of Provincial Council, and an elected member of the Executive of the CBA - BC Branch. She was appointed a Provincial Court Judge in 2009.

Since that time she has been assigned to the Vancouver Island Region where her duties have included sitting in the Victoria Integrated Court and the Cowichan Valley Domestic Violence Court. In addition to her sitting duties, Associate Chief Judge Wishart has given freely of her time to Court affairs including serving on the executive of the BC Provincial Court Judges’ Association. In 2014 -2015 she served as the Association’s President and as its representative on Judicial Council.