Court system of Canada

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The court system of Canada forms the country's judiciary, formally known as "The King on the Bench",[1] which interprets the law and is made up of many courts differing in levels of legal superiority and separated by jurisdiction. Some of the courts are federal in nature, while others are provincial or territorial.

The Constitution of Canada gives the federal government the exclusive right to legislate criminal law, while the provinces have exclusive control over much of civil law. The provinces have jurisdiction over the Administration of Justice in their territory. Almost all cases, whether criminal or civil, are heard in provincially or territorially established courts. The quite small system of federal courts only hears cases concerned with matters which are under exclusive federal control, such as federal taxation, federal administrative agencies, intellectual property, some portions of competition law and certain aspects of national security. The federal courts also have jurisdiction over civil actions against the federal government, a jurisdiction shared with provincial and territorial courts.

The federal government appoints and pays for both the judges of the federal courts and the judges of the superior appellate and trial level courts of each province. The provincial governments are responsible for appointing judges of the lower provincial courts. Although not judicial courts themselves, administrative tribunals also feed into the provincial/territorial and federal court hierarchies. This intricate interweaving of federal and provincial powers is typical of the Canadian constitution.