One of the most important but least examined aspects of the Canadian judicial system is the dual structure of civil and criminal trial courts. Canada's Trial Courts examines the co-existence, in every province, of superior courts (presided over by federally appointed judges) and 'lower' courts (staffed by provincially appointed judges). Combining both political and legal analysis, this is the first book to provide an in depth study of the evolution and operation of Canada's trial courts.
This collection of essays begins with an exploration of the constitutional origins of Canada's integrated court system and the failure of federal and provincial governments to cooperate in its development. Following are discussions of a number of contemporary reform projects in various jurisdictions, including Quebec, Nova Scotia, Alberta, and Nunavut, as well as examinations of competing visions of how Canada's trial courts should be organized in the future. To put the issue in a comparative perspective, the concluding section provides examples of how trial courts have been restructured in the United Kingdom and the state of California. Proposing a range of practical alternatives to the present system, the volume offers a ground-breaking legal analysis that addresses constitutional obstacles to trial court reform, and assesses the political factors that influence reform at the judicial level.
Featuring distinguished contributors from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, Canada's Trial Courts offers a comprehensive and up-to-date examination of an important but neglected issue that ultimately has a profound impact on the quality of justice that Canadians experience.