Provincial Court of Alberta

Provincial Court of Alberta

There is a Chief Provincial Judge, nine assistant chief judges, judges, and supernumerary judges.

There are 21 locations throughout Alberta where the Provincial Court of Alberta sits permanently, and 50 locations where the court sits on certain specified days.

The Provincial Court deals with matters in the following areas: Criminal, Family, Youth, Civil, and Traffic. The Criminal Court generally deals with criminal offences; the Family Court handles most Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act matters and certain custody and maintenance disputes; the Youth Court hears matters under the Youth Criminal Justice Act; the Civil Court handles civil claims where the amount claimed does not exceed $25,000; and the Traffic Court primarily hears matters under the Traffic Safety Act. All provincial court judges may hear any of the foregoing matters. Sitting Justices of the Peace hear matters in Traffic Court.

Judges of the Provincial Court of Alberta are appointed by the provincial government pursuant to the Provincial Court Act. An applicant for appointment to the Provincial Court must be approved by the Judicial Council. If the applicant is approved, the name is placed on a list of approved candidates.

Once a candidate has been approved by the Judicial Council, they must also be interviewed and approved by the Provincial Court Nominating Committee. The names of candidates approved by the Provincial Court Nominating Committee are placed on a list of candidates deemed eligible for appointment.

The Minister of Justice selects from the appointment eligibility list and makes a recommendation to Cabinet. If Cabinet agrees, an Order in Council is issued by the Lieutenant Governor appointing the new judge.

(Note: The Provincial Court Nominating Committee consists of eleven members. It has representatives from the Alberta Provincial Court, the Law Society of Alberta, the Canadian Bar Association (Alberta Branch), other members from the legal profession, and the public.)

Sitting Justices of the Peace, who preside in Traffic Court, follow a similar appointment process to provincial court judges, but the Provincial Court Nominating Committee is not involved.

In Alberta, provincial court judges are currently appointed to their position until they are 70 years of age. At the request of the Chief Judge, under certain conditions, a judge who turns 70 may be reappointed for one-year terms until that judge turns 75 years of age.

Complaints about a provincial court judge are dealt with by the Chief Judge who may determine that no further action be taken, reprimand the judge, take corrective measures, or refer the matter to the Judicial Council.

The Judicial Council is composed of the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal or designate, the Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench or designate, the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Alberta or designate, the President of the Law Society, and not more than two persons appointed by the Alberta Minister of Justice.

See also:

Chart of Courts in Alberta