Federal Court of Canada

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This article is about the federal court before it was split in 2003. For the active federal courts, see Federal Court (Canada) and Federal Court of Appeal (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.

Organization[edit]

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.

Jurisdiction[edit]

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.

History[edit]

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,[1] whose decisions soon became subject to a final appeal to a Board of Arbitrators,[2] until a further right of appeal to the new Exchequer Court was created in 1897.[3]

In 1875, in conjunction with the establishment of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Exchequer Court of Canada was simultaneously created,[4] 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,[5] and its jurisdiction was expanded to include exclusive original jurisdiction over all claims against the Crown. It subsequently was conferred admiralty jurisdiction in 1891.[6]

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[7][8] 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,[9] 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[edit]

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:

Judges[edit]

The judges of this court are listed below.[10]

     = former judge of the Exchequer Court of Canada
     = stepped down from original appointment
† = died in office
Judges of the Federal Court of Canada, June 1, 1971 – July 2, 2003
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[11]
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 [12]
James K. Hugessen June 23, 1998 July 18, 1983 [13]
Arthur J. Stone July 18, 1983 [14]
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 [15]
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 [16]
Alice Desjardins June 29, 1987 [17]
Frank Iacobucci September 2, 1988 January 6, 1991[18]
W. Andrew MacKay September 2, 1988 [19]
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 [20]
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 [21]
Francis J. McDonald April 1, 1993 September 6, 2001
Frederick E. Gibson April 1, 1993 [22]
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 [23]
J. Edgar Sexton June 23, 1998 [24]
Pierre Blais June 23, 1998 [25]
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 [26]
Allan Lutfy December 8, 1999 [27]
Eleanor Dawson December 8, 1999 [28]
Carolyn Layden-Stevenson January 25, 2002 [29]
Johanne Gauthier December 11, 2002 [30]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ An Act respecting the Public Works of Canada, S.C. 1867, c. 12
  2. ^ An Act to extend the powers of the Official Arbitrators, S.C. 1870, c. 23
  3. ^ An Act respecting the Official Arbitrators, S.C. 1879, c. 8
  4. ^ The Supreme and Exchequer Court Act, S.C. 1875, c. 11
  5. ^ The Exchequer Court Act, S.C. 1887, c. 16
  6. ^ The Admiralty Act, 1891, S.C. 1891, c. 29
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Consolidated Distilleries, Limited, and another v The King [1933] UKPC 34, [1933] AC 508 (10 April 1933), P.C. (on appeal from Canada)
  9. ^ Quebec North Shore Paper v. C.P. Ltd. 1976 CanLII 10, [1977] 2 SCR 1054 (29 June 1976)
  10. ^ "Former Judges and Prothonotaries". Federal Court (Canada). Retrieved February 1, 2012. 
  11. ^ Elevated to the Supreme Court of Canada
  12. ^ Served until July 25, 2007.
  13. ^ Served until July 26, 2008.
  14. ^ Served until November 19, 2004.
  15. ^ Served until May 1, 2004.
  16. ^ Served until January 27, 2007.
  17. ^ Served until August 11, 2009.
  18. ^ Elevated to the Supreme Court of Canada
  19. ^ Served until March 20, 2004.
  20. ^ Served until July 18, 2003.
  21. ^ Served until March 9, 2006, before being elevated to the Supreme Court of Canada.
  22. ^ Served until August 30, 2008.
  23. ^ Became Chief Justice of the new Federal Court of Appeal on July 3, 2003, in which post he served until July 30, 2009.
  24. ^ Served until October 28, 2011.
  25. ^ Served until February 19, 2008, before being elevated to the Federal Court of Appeal.
  26. ^ Served until September 27, 2007.
  27. ^ Became Chief Justice of the Federal Court on July 3, 2003, in which post he served until September 30, 2011.
  28. ^ Served until November 26, 2009, before being elevated to the Federal Court of Appeal.
  29. ^ Served until December 12, 2008.
  30. ^ Served until October 21, 2011, before being elevated to the Federal Court of Appeal.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]