Hugh Stansfield was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2003. He continued to serve as chief judge of the provincial court until last week. ((CBC))

B.C. Provincial Court Chief Judge Hugh Stansfield died Thursday at 56 after battling with blood cancer for six years.

Acting Chief Judge James Threlfall issued a statement in the afternoon, mourning the loss of the "face of the court" in B.C.

"We all knew that Hugh had cancer, but he wouldn't let it prevent him from carrying out his duties to the court and public," Threlfall said. "He fought his illness all the way."

Stansfield was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells, in 2003,  two years before he was appointed in July 2005 to a five-year term as chief judge of the provincial court.

He continued to serve the justice system, while receiving treatment, until last Tuesday when he was admitted to Vancouver General Hospital.

"Hugh brought to the court incredible energy, commitment, and strength of character," Threlfall said. "Since becoming chief judge, Hugh worked to make B.C.'s court system more accessible and open than ever before.

"By every possible measure, he was a dear friend and exceptional judge, and we're going to miss him."

Premier Gordon Campbell issued in a statement, praising Stansfield as a "respected member of our legal system."

"In his 29 years as a lawyer and judge in the provincial court, Hugh earned a well-deserved reputation for fairness and for his passion for judicial education," Campbell said.

Stansfield is survived by his wife, Jo-Ann, and four sons.


  • Hugh Stansfield died at age 56, not 57 as was originally reported.
    Jun 03, 2009 11:20 PM PT