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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 structure of the Canadian judiciary

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Political Science
POLS 3130
Dennis Baker

Lecture 2 - Structure of Canadian Judiciary • Which level of government administers courts • Which level of government appoints judges • What kinds of cases (from what locations) can courts hear (what is their jurisdiction) -territorial, hierarchal, • How much discretion do courts have in hearing cases Three types of courts: 1. Section 92 courts – provincial courts -created, administered and judges appointed by the provincial government 2. Section 96 courts – superior courts -administered by the provinces and judges are appointed by the federal government 3. Section 101 courts – federal courts -created, administered and judges appointed by the federal government Differences between Canada and US Judicial Structures • No “mixed” courts in the US where both levels of government have involvement in administration/appointment -no equivalent of section 96 courts in Canada • In the US, federal courts including Supreme Court, only hear cases involving federal law -state laws are only dealt with if they might violate US Constitution or in complex case involving state and federal law • “Dual” system in US, but some track jumping • In Canada the situation is more complex -Supreme Court hears cases involving both provincial laws, anything law related -section 96 (mixed) courts and section 92 (provincial) courts hear cases involving both provincial and federal law -section 101 federal courts hears cases primarily involving federal administrative law, appeals by federal tribunals Section 92 Provincial Courts • Courts are created and administered by the provinces and judges are appointed by the provinces • Located in numerous communities in each province • Workhorses of the judicial system, 95% of all cases -most criminal law, including young offenders -many tort and contract law disputes, up to a dollar value -many family law issues that are provincial jurisdiction • Workhorses: most criminal law cases -“summary” offences, provincial offences under provincial legislation -“hybrid” offences under Criminal Code -many indictable offences(except for the most serious such as murder) where the accused chooses to be tried before a provincial court judges -offences under (federal) Youth Criminal Justice Act -also preliminary inquiries for indictable offences to be tried in section 96 court Section 96 Courts • Administered by the provinces, judges appointed by the federal government • Inherent jurisdiction within each province -unless otherwise stated in legislation, courts have capacity to hear most public and private law case • Trial court level -have different names in different provinces -court of queen’s bench: Alberta, superior court of justice: Ontario, supreme court trial division: nova scotia • Appeal court level 20+ judges, 3 or 5 on panel -Alberta court of appeal, Ontario court of appeal, supreme court (appeal division PEI • Hears appeals from section 92 courts and from provincial administrative tribunals • Serious criminal law charges • Torts and other private law matters over a certain dollar figure, more than $10 thousand • Family law: divorce, custody, support etc -some provinces such as ON are creating “unified” family law courts at section 96 level, BC was the first to do this at section 92 level • Supreme court has prot
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