Founder of Vancouver's community court passes away

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


Judge Hugh Stansfield (left) with Attorney General Wally Oppal and Premier Gordon Campbell at the official opening of Canada's first community court

It is with great sadness we must report to you that Chief Judge Hugh Stansfield has passed away. He suffered from a multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells. His condition took a turn for the worse a few weeks ago.

I was alerted on Tuesday that he was quite ill and in the hospital and only had a few days to live. It all happened so suddenly.

I had the pleasure to meet Judge Stansfield on several occasions when a mutual friend set us up for lunch when I worked at the Mayor's Office. During our lengthy lunch sessions, we had plenty of time to discuss the role of the courts and how powerful they could be in terms improving the terrible conditions of people living in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Stansfield was one of main advocates for a new way of implementing justice on the Downtown Eastside, the nation's poorest postal code. He was the founder of Canada's first community court which opened less than one year ago. I have no doubt that without Stansfield's tenacity and commitment, there would be no community court in Vancouver. This will surely be one of his biggest legacies.

He was only 57 and at the height of a very successful career. He was a huge asset to our community, and he will be sorrily missed by all.

He is survived by his wife Jo-Ann and four sons, Colin (and his wife Connie), David, Patrick, and Matthew.



I had the priviledge of hearing Judge Stansfield speak about the Community Courts on several occassions. ALL citizens have lost one of our greatest examples of commpassion, common sense, and hope for the future.

My condolences to his wife, family, and many close friends.

I had an opportunity to deal with Judge Stansfield in his new role as Chief Judge when I was working for the Attorney General's office. His attitude towards communications and transparency within the judiciary was refreshing and quite unique. He wanted to change the way the BC court system dealt with the media.
He then put his money where his mouth was and did lots of media interviews to speak out on important issues facing the BC court system. His death is a great loss to the province.

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