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The Court Structure by rt3463df


									The Court Structure
• The word “jurisdiction” is very often used in the
  courts. It is used in 2 ways and may refer to either

      a) the nature or type of case brought before the
      court (ex: civil, criminal, divorce, bankruptcy
      b) the geographic location of the province where
      the court holds its sitting and hears its cases.
                  The Municipal Court

• Each city or municipality in the province is given the right
  to set up a Municipal Court.

• Except for Montreal, Laval and Quebec Cities, the
  municipal court is usually a “part time” court, sitting one or
  two evening/afternoons a week.

• This is simply because there are generally not enough
  cases to occupy a court on a full time basis.

• In Montreal, Laval and Quebec Cities, the Municipal Courts
  maintain a full time schedule, often with several courtroom
  sessions at the same time.
         Municipal Court Cont’d
• The Municipal Court has jurisdiction to hear matters
  related to violations of municipal by laws (traffic,
  health, zoning, noise) and criminal matters (mischief,
  shoplifting, theft under $1000).

• This court does not hear civil cases in which a person
  is suing someone else for money owed.
           The Court of Quebec
• Cases that fall within the jurisdiction of the court of
  Quebec are brought to this court and heard by one

• This court has the authority to hear civil and criminal

• There is a Youth Division and an Expropriation

• The following are generally the types of cases heard
  in Quebec courts:
        The Court of Que. Con’t
      a) where the value claimed, or the contract in
      dispute, is between $3000 and $30 000
      b) to cancel a lease where the amount claimed for
      rent and damages is less than $30 000
      c) to uncover unpaid municipal or school taxes
      d) to cancel a real estate valuation on which
      taxes would be assessed.

• A judgment of the Court of Quebec can be appealed
  only in the Court of Appeal only if the value of the
  object of dispute is greater than $20 000. A value
  below that amount cannot be appealed.
             Small Claims Court
• Small claims court was organized in 1972 by the Province in
  an effort to relieve the pressure and backlog of the
  higher courts.

• An important objective is to enable people to obtain faster
  and less expensive settlements.

• This Court uses the inquisitive method. One judge hears
  the parties, asks them about the relevant facts, and
  renders a decision.

• In order to meet the objectives, some restrictions apply:
Small Claims Court Cont’d
• a) The claim must be less than $3000
• b) The claim must arise out of a contract, or
  from an accident which resulted in damage.
• c) The debtor (person sued) must live or have a
  place of business in Quebec.
• d) The debt must be owed personally or
  directly to the creditor (person being sued).
• e) Lawyers are not permitted to represent
  people in this court.
       Small Claim Court Cont’d
• A person suing or being sued in this Court should
  come to the court in person. If it is impossible to do
  so, a “mandate” (authority to act for another person)
  may be given in writing to someone else who can then
  represent this person, but this must be done without

• If a business is sued, or is being sued, it must be
  represented by a director or officer who is a full
  time employee of the business, and in this case, the
  employee may be a lawyer.
       Small Claim Court Cont’d
• There is NO appeal from judgments of the Small
  Claims Court. Once the decision or judgment is
  rendered, the money owed must be paid within 10
  days. If it is not, the creditor has then right to
  return to the Court to request that the debtor’s
  salary or property (movables only) be seized to
  satisfy the judgement.
            The Superior Court
• This is the Court of Original General Jurisdiction.
  This means that it hears every case that is brought
  to court for the first time unless a paragraph of law
  directs that such a case be brought before another
  court (ex: if the amount is below $30 000, or if it an
  adoption matter etc..)

• The Superior Court has superintending power over all
  other courts in the province, except the Court of
  Appeal. This means that if another court exceeds its
  jurisdiction, a request may be made to the Superior
  Court to remedy the situation.
      The Superior Court Cont’d
• Most decisions of the Superior Court may be
• Judges of the Superior Court are appointed by the
  federal government.
• The salary levels of the judges are set by the
• Superior Courts are the highest level of court in a
  province, with the power to review actions of lower
           The Court of Appeal
• This is the general Court of Appeal for the province.

• It is the Court to which appeals are brought from the
  Superior Court, and in special cases, from the Quebec

• It has “appellate jurisdiction” (the right to hear
  appeals) over all cases where an appeal is allowed by
  law, except where the law specifically says the appeal
  must be heard by a different body.
     The Court of Appeal Cont’d
• In the Court of Appeal, each case is heard by more
  than one judge—there may be 3, 5, or even 7 judges
  who listen and decide a case.

• Decisions are made by a majority of the judges

• Any judge who disagrees with the other judges may
  write a “dissenting opinion” in which the reasons for
  the differing opinion are set out.
   The Supreme Court of Canada
• This is the highest Court in Canada, and is the final
  court to which one may bring appeals in all matters,
  civil or criminal.

• There is only one Supreme Court of Canada, and it
  hears appeals from all of the courts in all of provinces
  of the country.

• There are nine (9) judges in this court, appointed by
  the federal gov’t. The judges are chosen from
  across Canada, with three of them being always from
     The Supreme Court of Canada
• Cases are heard by an odd number of judges, and the
  decisions are made by the majority.
    The Federal Court of Canada
• This special Court deals with matters that concern
  the federal gov’t.

• The jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Canada
  includes specialized areas such as copyright and
  maritime law. It also reviews decisions of federally
  appointed administrative tribunals such as the
  Immigrant Appeal Board and the National Parole
          Discussion Questions:
• 1) A person has the right to be represented by a
  lawyer in any civil matter before all courts except
  one. Which one? Why does the law provide this

• 2) Explain the meaning of “…maximum jurisdiction of
  the Court is $30 000.” To which court does this

• 3) In which court would the following cases be heard?
• a) Steve bought a $ 500 carpet. After it was
  delivered to him, he found it was damaged. He
  wants to sue the store for the cost of repairs.

• b) A case involving a claim for $46 000 is about to
  be heard by a judge in a Court of Quebec. One of
  the parties wants to stop the proceedings.

• c) Jodi lent $1, 800 to her friend Natalie who was
  supposed to pay her back in 2 months. It is now one
  year later, and not one cent has been repaid.

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