Court of Appeal of Alberta

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The Court of Appeal of Alberta (frequently referred to as Alberta Court of Appeal or ABCA) is a Canadian appellate court.

Jurisdiction and Hierarchy within Canadian Courts[edit]

The Court is the highest court in Alberta, Canada. It hears appeals from the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, the Provincial Court of Alberta, and administrative boards and tribunals, as well as references from the Lieutenant Governor in Council (essentially the Alberta Cabinet). Some administrative appeals may bypass the Court of Queen's Bench, commonly orders made by professional discipline boards under the Medical Profession Act,[1] the Legal Profession Act,[2] but also under the Energy Resources Conservation Act.[3]

Appeals from the Court of Appeal lie with the Supreme Court of Canada, Canada's court of last resort. Other than certain criminal matters, appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada are heard only by leave of that court. Since the Supreme Court denies leave in most cases, the Court of Appeal is the final court for most matters originating in Alberta.

Unlike the Court of Queen's Bench, the Court of Appeal has no inherent jurisdiction and therefore requires a statute to grant it the power to hear a matter before a panel is convened. As a court of a province, it is administered by the provincial government. Hearings are held exclusively in both the Edmonton and Calgary court buildings. Unlike other provinces (except Newfoundland and Labrador and Ontario), the Alberta Court of Appeal displays a different Coat of Arms than its lower courts: the Coat of Arms of Canada.

History[edit]

The Court originated from the old Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories which was replaced by the Supreme Court of Alberta in 1907 (shortly after Alberta became a province in 1905). The new Supreme Court of Alberta comprised a trial division and an appellate division (essentially, brother justices of the Supreme Court sitting en banc with a quorum of three).

The second Chief Justice of Alberta, Horace Harvey, supported an independent appellate court designed only to hear appeals. The Judicature Act enacted these changes in 1919, and it was proclaimed in 1921.[4] It was not until 1979 that the Court changed its name to the "Court of Appeal of Alberta" through the Court of Appeal Act,[5] at the same time that the Supreme Court Trial Division and the District Court were amalgamated and renamed the "Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta".

Composition[edit]

There are 15 justices on the bench including the chief justice, who is the highest judicial officer in the province and holds the position of Chief Justice of Alberta. As a section 96 court, the justices are appointed by the federal government and may hold office until the age of 75. Some of the justices have elected supernumerary (part-time or semi-retired) status. Occasionally, justices of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta sit on appeals. This is done at the request of a justice of the Court of Appeal. When this happens, these justices are sitting "ex officio", but they have the same powers and duties as other justices of the Court of Appeal.

Most cases are heard by a panel of three justices although the Chief Justice may convene a larger panel in exceptional circumstances. A single justice will preside over matters heard in ”chambers”, usually interlocutory matters or applications for leave to appeal.

Association with the Northwest Territories[edit]

Justices of the Court of Appeal for the Northwest Territories are selected from the justices of the Court of Appeal of Alberta, Court of Appeal of Saskatchewan, and the judges and ex officio judges of the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories. The current Chief Justice of Alberta, Catherine A. Fraser, is also the Chief Justice of the Northwest Territories. Hearings are held in Yellowknife, but may be heard anywhere in the territories or in Alberta.[6]

Current judges[edit]

Position Name Stationed In Appointed Nominated by Position Prior to Appointment
Chief Justice Catherine A. Fraser N/A 1991
1992
Mulroney Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta
Alberta Court of Appeal
Justice Jean E.L. Côté[7] Edmonton 1987 Mulroney Lawyer at Reynolds, Mirth & Cote
Justice Carole M. Conrad[8] Calgary 1992 Mulroney Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta
Justice Ellen I. Picard[9] Edmonton 1995 Chrétien Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta
Justice Constance D. Hunt
(Supernumerary)
Calgary 1995 Chrétien Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta
Justice Ronald L. Berger[10] Edmonton 1996 Chrétien Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta
Justice Peter T. Costigan[11]
(Supernumerary)
Edmonton 1999 Chrétien Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta
Justice Marina S. Paperny[12] Calgary 2001 Chrétien Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta
Justice Clifton D. O'Brien[13] Calgary 2005 Martin Lawyer at Bennett Jones LLP
Justice Peter W.L. Martin[14][15] Calgary 2005 Martin Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta
Justice Frans F. Slatter[16][17][18] Edmonton 2006 Harper Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta
Justice Jack Watson[19][20] Edmonton 2006 Harper Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta
Justice Patricia A. Rowbotham[21][22][23] Calgary 2007 Harper Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta
Justice J. D. Bruce McDonald[24][25] Calgary 2008 Harper Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta
Justice Myra B. Bielby[26]
(Supernumerary)
Edmonton 2010 Harper Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta
Justice Brian K. O'Ferrall Calgary 2011 Harper Provincial Court of Alberta
Justice Barbara L. Veldhuis Edmonton 2013 Harper Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta
Justice Thomas W. Wakeling Edmonton 2014 Harper Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta
Justice Russell S. Brown Edmonton 2014 Harper Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta

Former Chief Justices of Alberta[edit]

Previous judges[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  6. ^ http://www.nwtcourts.ca/Courts/ca.htm
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  8. ^ http://books.google.ca/books?id=YKfRprwXDboC&lpg=PA275&ots=MpXvWxtoM0&dq=Justice%20Carole%20M.%20Conrad&pg=PA275#v=onepage&q=Justice%20Carole%20M.%20Conrad&f=false.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
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  • Louis Knafla, Richard Klumpenhouwer, Lords of the Western Bench: A Biographical History of the Supreme and District Courts of Alberta, 1876-1990 (Canada: Legal Archives Society of Alberta, 1997).

External links[edit]

Order of precedence
Preceded by
Dave Hancock, Premier of Alberta
Order of precedence in Alberta
as of 2013
Succeeded by
Norman Kwong, Former Lieutenant Governor of Alberta