Federal Court of Canada
The Federal Court of Canada was a national court of Canada that heard some types of disputes arising under the central government's legislative jurisdiction. The Court was split in 2003 into two separate Courts, the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal.
The 2003 change in structure was largely "technical" in that it did not change the powers of the court, or any of the judges or the way they are appointed, but just split the court into two separate courts. The Federal Court of Canada's enabling legislation, the Federal Court Act, was renamed the Federal Courts Act.
The Court consisted of a first-level trial court, known as the Federal Court of Canada – Trial Division, and an appellate Court, known as the Federal Court of Canada – Appeal Division (more commonly referred to as the Federal Court of Appeal).
The Trial Division had jurisdiction to hear judicial review of decisions of federal boards and tribunals, including most immigration matters, as well as jurisdiction in admiralty, intellectual property, and disputes involving the federal government.
The Appeal Division had jurisdiction to hear appeals of decisions of the Trial Division, as well as to determine applications for judicial review of decisions made by specific boards and tribunals, set out in section 28 of the Federal Court Act. Decisions of the Appeal Division could be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, but only if leave (permission) was granted by either court.
The court did not use juries so all matters were decided by judge alone: a single judge in the Trial Division and a panel of three judges at the appeal level. Some pre-trial steps such as motions were decided by prothonotaries, a role similar to a master in other courts. The judges and prothonotaries were appointed by the Cabinet of the federal government.
Unlike the general courts set up by each province, matters could not be brought before the Federal Court of Canada unless a law explicitly allowed the proceeding. The docket of the court primarily consisted of judicial reviews of immigration, intellectual property, and federal employment disputes. The court could also deal with incidental aspects of a dispute that fell outside its jurisdiction if the primary dispute was within its jurisdiction.
The court was a national court so trials and hearings occurred throughout Canada. Any orders rendered by the court were enforceable in all the provinces and territories. This contrasts with the provincial superior courts which are organized by each province and require additional steps to enforce decisions in other provinces.
The Parliament of Canada has the power to establish a court system under section 101 of the Constitution Act, 1867 which allows the government to create "any additional Courts for the better Administration of the Laws of Canada."
In the years immediately after Confederation, no court per se was created, but provision was made for the appointment of Official Arbitrators, whose decisions soon became subject to a final appeal to a Board of Arbitrators, until a further right of appeal to the new Exchequer Court was created in 1897.
In 1875, in conjunction with the establishment of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Exchequer Court of Canada was simultaneously created, where the justices of the Supreme Court also sat as justices of the Exchequer Court. Its jurisdiction was originally confined to:
- concurrent original jurisdiction over all cases relating to the enforcement of the revenue laws,
- exclusive original jurisdiction over any demand or relief sought in like manner as the English Court of Exchequer in its revenue side
- concurrent original jurisdiction over all civil cases where the Crown is the plaintiff or petitioner
In 1887, provision was made to appoint a separate judge with respect to the Exchequer Court, and its jurisdiction was expanded to include exclusive original jurisdiction over all claims against the Crown. It subsequently was conferred admiralty jurisdiction in 1891.
In 1971, the Federal Court of Canada was established, inheriting much of the jurisdiction of the Exchequer Court. The Federal Court of Canada gained the jurisdiction to hear judicial reviews from federal agencies and tribunals. The Federal Court of Canada had two divisions, the Federal Court – Trial Division and Federal Court – Appeal Division.
On July 2, 2003 the court was again restructured. The Court was split into two separate Courts, with the Trial Division continued as the Federal Court and the Appeal Division continued as the Federal Court of Appeal.
Until 1976, there was substantial judicial support for the view that Parliament could give a federal court jurisdiction over any matter (even a matter not regulated by federal statute law), on the basis that "the Laws of Canada" meant not only federal statutes, but provincial ones as well. However, in Quebec North Shore Paper Co. v. Canadian Pacific, the Supreme Court of Canada rejected this notion, as:
- provincial law is not pro tanto federal law, nor can it be transposed into federal law for the purposes of giving jurisdiction to the Federal Court.
- judicial jurisdiction of the Federal Court is not co-extensive with legislative jurisdiction of Parliament, as "the Laws of Canada" carries the requirement that there be applicable and existing federal law
Presidents of the Exchequer Court of Canada
The position of President of the Court was not created until 1923. Before that time, justices of the Supreme Court of Canada sat as judges of the Exchequer Court from 1875 to 1887, at which time George Wheelock Burbidge was appointed as the first full-time judge of the Court. He served until 1908. when Walter Gibson Pringle Cassels was appointed. In 1912, authority was given to appoint an associate judge to the Court, and Louis Arthur Audette was appointed to that position. In 1945, authority was given to appoint more judges to the Court.
From 1923, the Presidents of the Court were:
- Walter Gibson Pringle Cassels, 1920–1923
- Alexander Kenneth Maclean, 1923–1942
- Joseph Thorarinn Thorson, 1942–1964
- Wilbur Roy Jackett, 1964–1971 (subsequently Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Canada)
The judges of this court are listed below.
- = former judge of the Exchequer Court of Canada
- = stepped down from original appointment
- † = died in office
|Name||Trial Division||Appeal Division||Associate Chief Justice||Chief Justice||Left office||Transferred to|
|Federal Court||Federal Court of Appeal|
|Wilbur R. Jackett||June 1, 1971||October 1, 1979|
|Camilien Noël||June 1, 1971||July 4, 1975|
|Jacques Dumoulin||June 1, 1971||December 1, 1972|
|Arthur L. Thurlow||June 1, 1971||December 4, 1975||January 4, 1980||May 5, 1988|
|Alexander Cattanach||June 1, 1971||July 26, 1984|
|Hugh F. Gibson||June 1, 1971||December 14, 1981|
|Allison Walsh||June 1, 1971||June 30, 1986|
|Roderick Kerr||June 1, 1971||September 1, 1975|
|Louis Pratte||June 10, 1971||January 25, 1973||January 1, 1999|
|Darrel V. Heald||June 30, 1971||December 4, 1975||August 27, 1994|
|Frank U. Collier||September 15, 1971||December 31, 1992|
|John J. Urie||April 19, 1973||December 15, 1990|
|Raymond G. Décary||September 13, 1973||January 31, 1984|
|Patrick M. Mahoney||September 13, 1973||July 18, 1983||October 31, 1994|
|George A. Addy||September 17, 1973||September 28, 1990|
|William F. Ryan||April 11, 1974||August 1, 1986|
|Jean-Eudes Dubé||April 9, 1975||November 6, 2001|
|Gerald Le Dain||September 1, 1975||May 28, 1984|
|Louis Marceau||December 23, 1975||July 18, 1983||May 1, 2000|
|James Alexander Jerome||February 18, 1980||March 4, 1998|
|Paul U.C. Rouleau||August 5, 1982||✓|
|James K. Hugessen||June 23, 1998||July 18, 1983||✓|
|Arthur J. Stone||July 18, 1983||✓|
|John McNair||July 18, 1983||August 31, 1990|
|Francis C. Muldoon||July 18, 1983||September 4, 2001|
|Barry L. Strayer||July 18, 1983||August 30, 1994||✓|
|Barbara Reed||November 17, 1983||July 22, 2000|
|Mark R. MacGuigan||June 29, 1984||†January 12, 1998|
|Pierre Denault||June 29, 1984||November 1, 2001|
|Louis-Marcel Joyal||June 29, 1984||December 31, 1998|
|Bud Cullen||July 26, 1984||August 31, 2000|
|Bertrand Lacombe||October 29, 1985||December 7, 1989|
|Leonard Martin||October 29, 1985||October 24, 1991|
|Max M. Teitlebaum||October 29, 1985||✓|
|Alice Desjardins||June 29, 1987||✓|
|Frank Iacobucci||September 2, 1988||January 6, 1991|
|W. Andrew MacKay||September 2, 1988||✓|
|Robert Décary||March 14, 1990||July 1, 2001|
|Allen M.Linden||July 5, 1990||October 7, 2009|
|Julius A. Isaac||September 1, 1999||December 24, 1991||✓|
|Gilles Létourneau||May 13, 1992||✓|
|Joseph Robertson||May 13, 1992||July 27, 2000|
|Donna McGillis||May 13, 1992||May 15, 2003|
|Marc Noël||June 24, 1992||June 23, 1998||✓|
|Marshall E. Rothstein||June 24, 1992||January 22, 1999||✓|
|Francis J. McDonald||April 1, 1993||September 6, 2001|
|Frederick E. Gibson||April 1, 1993||✓|
|William P. McKeown||April 1, 1993||September 1, 2002|
|Marc Nadon||June 10, 1993||December 14, 2001||✓|
|Howard Wetston||June 16, 1993||January 11, 1999|
|John D. Richard||June 23, 1998||November 4, 1999||✓|
|J. Edgar Sexton||June 23, 1998||✓|
|Pierre Blais||June 23, 1998||✓|
|John Maxwell Evans||June 26, 1998||December 30, 1999||✓|
|Karen Sharlow||January 21, 1999||November 4, 1999||✓|
|J.D. Denis Pelletier||February 16, 1999||December 14, 2001||✓|
|Brian D. Malone||November 4, 1999||✓|
|Allan Lutfy||December 8, 1999||✓|
|Eleanor Dawson||December 8, 1999||✓|
|Carolyn Layden-Stevenson||January 25, 2002||✓|
|Johanne Gauthier||December 11, 2002||✓|
- An Act respecting the Public Works of Canada, S.C. 1867, c. 12
- An Act to extend the powers of the Official Arbitrators, S.C. 1870, c. 23
- An Act respecting the Official Arbitrators, S.C. 1879, c. 8
- The Supreme and Exchequer Court Act, S.C. 1875, c. 11
- The Exchequer Court Act, S.C. 1887, c. 16
- The Admiralty Act, 1891, S.C. 1891, c. 29
- Stephen A. Scott (1982). "Canadian Federal Courts and the Constitutional Limits of Their Jurisdiction". McGill Law Journal (McGill Law School) 27 (2): 137–195. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
- Consolidated Distilleries, Limited, and another v The King  UKPC 34,  AC 508 (10 April 1933), P.C. (on appeal from Canada)
- Quebec North Shore Paper v. C.P. Ltd. 1976 CanLII 10,  2 SCR 1054 (29 June 1976)
- "Former Judges and Prothonotaries". Federal Court (Canada). Retrieved February 1, 2012.
- Elevated to the Supreme Court of Canada
- Served until July 25, 2007.
- Served until July 26, 2008.
- Served until November 19, 2004.
- Served until May 1, 2004.
- Served until January 27, 2007.
- Served until August 11, 2009.
- Elevated to the Supreme Court of Canada
- Served until March 20, 2004.
- Served until July 18, 2003.
- Served until March 9, 2006, before being elevated to the Supreme Court of Canada.
- Served until August 30, 2008.
- Became Chief Justice of the new Federal Court of Appeal on July 3, 2003, in which post he served until July 30, 2009.
- Served until October 28, 2011.
- Served until February 19, 2008, before being elevated to the Federal Court of Appeal.
- Served until September 27, 2007.
- Became Chief Justice of the Federal Court on July 3, 2003, in which post he served until September 30, 2011.
- Served until November 26, 2009, before being elevated to the Federal Court of Appeal.
- Served until December 12, 2008.
- Served until October 21, 2011, before being elevated to the Federal Court of Appeal.
- Official web site as of October 2002 (via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine)
- Courts Administration Service Act, S.C. 2002, c. 8 (restructuring the Court, effective July 2, 2003) (as originally enacted)