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Supreme Court of British Columbia

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The Supreme Court of British Columbia BCSC is the superior trial court for the province of British Columbia, Canada The BCSC hears civil and criminal law cases as well as appeals from the Provincial Court of British Columbia Including supernumerary judges, there are presently 108 judges There are also 13 Supreme Court masters who hear and dispose of a wide variety of applications in chambers1

The court was established in 1869 as the "Supreme Court of the Mainland of British Columbia" to distinguish it from the "Supreme Court of Vancouver Island" The two courts merged in 1870 under the present name 2

Contents

  • 1 Jurisdiction
  • 2 Justices and masters
  • 3 Judicial districts
  • 4 Chief Justices of the Supreme Court
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Jurisdictionedit

The BCSC is a court of record, having original jurisdiction in all cases, civil and criminal, arising in British Columbia The BCSC has inherent jurisdiction under the Constitution of Canada in addition to any jurisdiction granted to it by federal or provincial statute

The BCSC has jurisdiction in any civil dispute, including those matters where the dollar amount involved is within the jurisdiction of the Small Claims division of the Provincial Court Under the Criminal Code, the BCSC is included as a "superior court of criminal jurisdiction", meaning that it has exclusive jurisdiction for the trial of serious crimes within British Columbia

The BCSC also hears appeals from the Provincial Court and some administrative tribunals Appeals from its own judgments are heard by the Court of Appeal of British Columbia

The BCSC is also responsible for call ceremonies for admitting lawyers and notaries public where the respective oath of office is administered by a justice34

Justices and mastersedit

All justices of the BCSC including the position of Chief Justice and Associate Chief Justice are appointed by the federal cabinet, on recommendation of the Minister of Justice All BCSC justices have full jurisdiction over any matter before the BCSC

It is court protocol to refer to BCSC judges as "justices", and in court to address to justices as “my Lord” or “my Lady," unlike in the Provincial Court and the now-abolished County Court where the term “judge” is used and the mode of address is and was "your Honour"

Masters are appointed by the provincial cabinet, on recommendation of the Attorney General in consultation with the Chief Justice As provincial appointees, masters do not have inherent jurisdiction Their jurisdiction is limited to those matters granted to them by statute and the Rules of Court Masters preside in chambers, where they usually hear interlocutory applications and other pre-trial matters Masters cannot hear civil trials and do not preside in criminal matters In court, Masters were formerly addressed as "Master," but in a practice direction issued on September 6, 1991, then Chief Justice Esson advised the most appropriate form of address would be "your Honour" Masters also sit and hear matters as registrars, hearing such matters as assessments of solicitors fees and accounts

Judicial districtsedit

The BCSC sits in eight judicial districts called "counties" This is the only usage of "county" in British Columbia, which is a reference only to such court districts and has no similarity to the meaning in other provinces or in the United States or the United Kingdom Prior to 1990, there existed in British Columbia a County Court, an intermediate court between the Provincial Court and the BCSC In 1990, the County Court of BC merged with the BCSC and its judges became justices of the BCSC The judicial districts of the Supreme Court have the same boundaries of the counties of the former County Court

The judicial districts are: Cariboo; Kootenay; Nanaimo; Prince Rupert; Vancouver; Victoria; Westminster; and Yale The Counties of Vancouver and Westminster are collectively one judicial district under the name of the "Vancouver Westminster Judicial District"5 Within each county, or judicial district, justices are resident in the following locations: Chilliwack; Cranbrook; Kamloops; Kelowna; Nanaimo; Nelson; New Westminster; Prince George; Prince Rupert; Victoria; and Vancouver The BCSC also holds sittings in the following court locations for which there is not a resident justice: Campbell River; Courtenay; Dawson Creek; Duncan; Fort Nelson; Fort St John; Golden; Penticton; Port Alberni; Powell River; Quesnel; Revelstoke, Rossland; Salmon Arm; Smithers; Terrace; Vernon; and Williams Lake

Chief Justices of the Supreme Courtedit

Prior to 1909, when the British Columbia Court of Appeal was established, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was considered the Chief Justice of British Columbia

  • 2013–present Christopher E Hinkson
  • 2009–2013 Robert James Bauman
  • 2000–2009 Donald Ian Brenner
  • 1996–2000 Bryan Williams
  • 1989–1996 William A Esson
  • 1988–1989 Beverley McLachlin
  • 1979–1988 Allan McEachern afterwards Chief Justice of BC Court of Appeal, 1988
  • 1973–1979 Nathaniel Nemetz afterwards Chief Justice of BC Court of Appeal, 1979
  • 1963-1973 John Owen Wilson
  • 1955–1963 Sherwood Lett afterwards Chief Justice of BC Court of Appeal, 1963
  • 1942–1955 Wendell Burpee Farris died 1955
  • 1929–1942 Aulay MacAulay Morrison
  • 1902–1929 Gordon Hunter
  • 1898–1902 Angus John McColl
  • 1895–1898 Theodore Davie
  • 1869–1894 Matthew Baillie Begbie incumbent Chief Justice of the Colony of British Columbia at the time BC joined Canada

Referencesedit

  1. ^ "BC Supreme Court "About us"" Retrieved 2011-07-19 
  2. ^ The Laws of British Columbia: Consisting of the Acts, Ordinances p 112 
  3. ^ Call and Admission to the Bar
  4. ^ Information on Becoming aBC Notary Public
  5. ^ British Columbia Supreme Court Act

External linksedit

  • Supreme Court of British Columbia website
  • Public Legal Education - Supreme Court of BC
  • Public Legal Education - Supreme Court Self-Help
  • BCSC Rules

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