THE COURT STRUCTURE OF QUEBEC AND LOWER CANADA, 1764 TO 1860
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COURT PROFILES

COURT(S) OF KING'S/QUEEN'S BENCH
(before 1775, also known as Superior Court or Supreme Court)

The Court of King's Bench in England was one of the three superior courts of common law, along with the Court of Common Pleas and the Court of Exchequer. By the eighteenth century, the jurisdiction of the Court extended in theory to all criminal matters, and to such civil matters not involving real property as it could poach from the Court of Common Pleas. As well, it had an effective appellate jurisdiction over the Court of Common Pleas and the lower courts. However, as there was only one Court for the entire country, sitting at Westminster, much of the Court's theoretical jurisdiction was delegated in practice to the Courts of Assize, with the Court of King's Bench generally limited to extraordinary cases, and cases removed before judgement or appealed from the lower courts.(14)

A Court or Courts of King's or Queen's Bench existed in Quebec and Lower Canada throughout the period covered in this guide. But though their name remained constant (apart from a delayed change in the title of the monarch following the accession of Victoria), the function, organization, and even number of these courts changed considerably over time.



1. 1764-1775

Establishment and Jurisdiction

A Court of King's Bench was established by the 1764 ordinance setting up the courts. Before 1775, it was often also known as the Superior Court or the Supreme Court. The Court had jurisdiction over all criminal and civil matters throughout the province. Although it was modelled on the English court of the same name, in practice its criminal jurisdiction was broader. Combining the criminal functions of the English Courts of King's Bench and Assize, the Quebec Court heard all major criminal matters, apart from those heard by the few Courts of Assize.(15) Its actual civil jurisdiction is more difficult to gauge, since in theory it overlapped that of the Court of Common Pleas; however, it was probably limited to more important civil cases. Between 1773 and 1775, while William Hey, the Chief Justice, was on leave in England and replaced by the Commissioners for Executing the Office of Chief Justice, the Court's civil jurisdiction was effectively limited to preliminary proceedings.

The Court also had appellate jurisdiction over the Courts of Quarter Sessions of the Peace in all civil cases, and the Court of Common Pleas in civil cases involving sums over £St10. In 1773, however, the appellate jurisdiction of the Court was revoked and given to the Court of Appeals during Hey's absence.

The Court was abolished with the rest of the existing court system as of May 1, 1775 by the Quebec Act, and remained in abeyance during the period of instability resulting from the American invasion. Its criminal jurisdiction was temporarily assumed by the interim Courts of Oyer and Terminer and General Gaol Delivery, and its civil jurisdiction by the interim Courts of Civil Jurisdiction (Courts of Common Pleas). When the regular court system was restored in 1777, the Court's criminal jurisdiction was assumed by the new Court of King's Bench, its civil jurisdiction by the Courts of Common Pleas, and its appellate jurisdiction by the Court of Appeals.

Composition and Sessions

The Court was held by the Chief Justice, or in his absence, the Commissioners for Executing the Office of Chief Justice. Initially the Court had two terms annually at Quebec City; it sat for the first time in January 1765. An additional term at Quebec City was added in 1766. From 1767, the Court could also hold sessions as necessary at Montreal, which it did at least once every year until 1775; these were sometimes referred to as Courts of Assize.(16)

Revision

In civil matters, judgements of the Court in cases involving sums over £St300 could be appealed to the Governor and Council, and in cases involving sums over £St500, directly to the King and Council.

In criminal matters, throughout the period covered by this guide there was no formal legislative provision for a general right of appeal from the judgements of any court. Instead, criminal appeals were governed by English common law and by the legislation that defined new statutory offences. Under the common law, which governed most common offences such as murder, larceny, or assault, appeals could only be made in a few strictly defined circumstances, such as when there was an error of form in the indictment or other documents, or when, in a jury trial, the trial judge or judges decided that the verdict was contrary to the evidence or the law. Up to the early nineteenth century, such appeal proceedings were rare, both in England and in Quebec and Lower Canada.(17) The only exception was in the case of statutory offences whose defining legislation also explicitly granted a right of appeal; but almost all such cases concerned minor matters tried in the lower courts.(18) From 1768, the instructions to the successive governors did specify that all fines over £St100 imposed for misdemeanours could be appealed to the King and Council;(19) however, as this provision was not made explicit in colonial legislation until 1787, it may not have been in force in the colony before that date.

Legislation

4 George III September 17, 1764 (in force with amendments 1764-1775)
Establishing a Court of King's Bench for the province.

6 George III July 26, 1766 (in force 1766-1775)
Giving the Court an extra term at Quebec City.

7 George III January 27 1767 (in force 1767-1775)
Mentioning that sessions of the Court could also be held at Montreal.

13 George III September 1, 1773 (in force 1773-1775)
Limiting the jurisdiction of the Commissioners for Executing the Office of Chief Justice.

Imperial Statute 14 George III c.83 (1774) (Quebec Act)
Abolishing the Court as of May 1, 1775.



2. 1777-1794

Establishment and Jurisdiction

When the regular court system was restored in 1777, the Court of King's Bench was formally re-established, although with major changes in its jurisdiction. The Court now had jurisdiction over all criminal matters, but its previous civil jurisdiction was given to the Courts of Common Pleas, and its appellate jurisdiction to the Court of Appeals.

The Court was abolished with the rest of the existing court system in the judicial reorganization of 1794. Its jurisdiction was assumed by the new Courts of King's Bench for the various districts.

Composition and Sessions

The Court was held by the Chief Justice or the Commissioners for Executing the Office of Chief Justice. The Court had four terms annually, alternating between Quebec City and Montreal. From 1792, the obligation to hold terms in Montreal was removed.

Revision

In criminal matters, judgements of the Court could not in general be appealed, although appeals could be made in certain specific circumstances. However, from 1787, all fines over £St100 imposed for misdemeanours could be appealed to the King and Council; this provision may also have been in effect before that date.(20)

Legislation

17 George III c.5 (1777) (in force with amendments 1777-1794)
Establishing a Court of King's Bench for the province.

27 George III c.1 (1787) (in force 1787-)
Allowing appeal to the King and Council in certain criminal cases.

32 George III c.3 (1792) (in force 1792-1794)
Removing the obligation to hold terms of the court in Montreal.

34 George III c.6 (1794)
Abolishing the Court.



3. 1794-1844

As part of the judicial reorganization of 1794, the previous Court of King's Bench, with jurisdiction over the entire province, was replaced by separate Courts of King's Bench for each district. The Courts of the Districts of Quebec and Montreal, the District of Trois-Rivières, and the District of St. Francis are treated here in separate sub-sections.



3.1 Districts of Quebec and Montreal

Establishment and Jurisdiction

Separate Courts of King's Bench were established for the Districts of Quebec and Montreal in the judicial reorganization of 1794. The Courts had jurisdiction over all civil and criminal matters arising within their respective districts or the District of Gaspé. They thus reassumed the civil jurisdiction that had been given to the Courts of Common Pleas between 1776 and 1794, although in practice they did not try civil matters within the jurisdiction of the lower courts. Despite the creation of the District of St. Francis in 1823, the Court of the District of Montreal retained its jurisdiction over all criminal matters arising within that part of the District of St. Francis previously within the District of Montreal.

The Courts had three different types of terms, each with a different jurisdiction: criminal terms, with jurisdiction over all criminal matters; Superior terms, with jurisdiction over civil matters that were cognizable under the French regime by the courts of Prévoté, Justice Royale, Intendant, and Superior Council, and either involving sums over £St10 (over £St20 if arising in the District of Gaspé), or affecting future rights; and Inferior terms, with summary jurisdiction over civil matters involving sums not over £St10. From 1841 to 1844, under the Special Council's aborted plan for judicial reorganization, the Inferior terms of the Courts were abolished and their jurisdiction assumed by the District and Division Courts.

Although the Courts were not regular courts of appeal as they had been before 1794, they were given appellate jurisdiction over various lower courts from time to time. In 1805, the Court of the District of Quebec (presumably in its Superior terms) was given appellate jurisdiction over the Trinity House of Quebec in civil cases involving sums over £20. In 1822, the Superior terms of the Court of the District of Quebec were given appellate jurisdiction over the Provincial Court of the District of Gaspé in civil cases involving sums over £St10; this was extended in 1824 to all civil cases. In 1823, the Superior terms of the Court of the District of Montreal were given appellate jurisdiction over the Provincial Court of the District of St. Francis in civil cases involving sums over £St10 arising in that part of the District of St. Francis previously within the District of Montreal; this was revoked in 1832, with the jurisdiction given to the Court of King's Bench the District of St. Francis. Also in 1832, the Court of the District of Montreal (presumably in its Superior terms) was given appellate jurisdiction over the Trinity House of Montreal in civil cases involving sums over £20. In 1841, the Courts were given appellate jurisdiction over the District Courts of their respective districts in civil cases involving sums over £St15. And also in 1841, the Court of the District of Quebec was given appellate jurisdiction over the Commissioners' Court of the Magdalen Islands in civil cases involving sums over £St10.

Composition and Sessions

Each Court was composed of a Chief Justice and three Puisné Justices.(21) Originally, each had two criminal terms annually, held by the Chief Justice and any other Justice of the Court; four Superior terms annually, held by any two Justices of the Court; and six Inferior terms annually, held by any Justices of the Court. From 1823, criminal terms of the Courts could be held by two Puisné Justices without the presence of the Chief Justice; this was reaffirmed in 1830, when the criminal terms for the Court of the District of Montreal were extended. From 1840, two Justices of the Court of the District of Montreal could sit in vacation to clear up any backlog of civil cases. And in 1841, Inferior terms of the Court of the District of Montreal could be held by a specially appointed Commissioner of the Inferior term.

From 1818 to 1820, Assistant Judges of the Court could be appointed in the case of incapacitation of the regular Justices, with the full powers of regular Justices. While only a temporary provision, this was revived in 1838 and again in 1840 as a result of the judicial chaos resulting from the Rebellions.

Removal and Revision

In civil matters, cases affecting future rights could be removed before judgement from the Inferior terms to the Superior terms of the same Court. Judgements of the Courts in cases involving sums over £St20, or affecting future rights, could be appealed to the Provincial Court of Appeals.

In criminal matters, fines over £St100 imposed for misdemeanours could be appealed to the King or Queen and Council. Apart from this, judgements of the Courts could not in general be appealed, although appeals could be made in certain specific circumstances.(22)

Legislation

34 George III c.6 (1794) (in force with amendments 1794-1849)
Establishing Courts of King's Bench for the Districts of Quebec and Montreal.

45 George III c.12 (1805) (in force 1805-1849)
Giving the Court of the District of Quebec appellate jurisdiction over the Trinity House of Quebec.

58 George III c.12 (1818) (in force 1818-1820)
Allowing for the appointment of Assistant Judges of the Courts.

2 George IV c.5 (1822) (in force with amendments 1822-1844)
Giving the Superior terms of the Court of the District of Quebec appellate jurisdiction over the Provincial Court of the District of Gaspé.

3 George IV c.9 (1823) (in force 1823-1827)
Allowing criminal terms of the Courts of the Districts of Quebec and Montreal to be held by two Puisné Justices.

3 George IV c.17 (1823) (in force 1823-1832)
Giving the Superior terms of the Court of the District of Montreal appellate jurisdiction over the Provincial Court of the District of St. Francis.

4 George IV c.7 (1824) (in force 1824-1844)
Extending the appellate jurisdiction of the Court of the District of Quebec over the Provincial Court of the District of Gaspé.

10&11 George IV c.16 (1830) (in force 1830-1844)
Reaffirming the right of two Puisné Justices of the Courts of the Districts of Quebec and Montreal to hold criminal terms, and extending the criminal terms of the Court of the District of Montreal.

2 William IV c.8 (1832) (in force with amendments 1832-1849)
Revoking the appellate jurisdiction of the Court of the District of Montreal over the Provincial Court of the District of St. Francis.

2 William IV c.24 (1832) (in force 1832-1837)
Extending the appellate jurisdiction of the Court of the District of Montreal over the Trinity House of Montreal.

2 Victoria (2) c.13 (1838) (in force 1838-1844)
Allowing for the appointment of Assistant Judges of the Courts.

3&4 Victoria c.24 (1840) (in force 1840-1844)
Giving the Assistant Judges of the Courts the full powers of regular Justices of the Courts.

4 Victoria c.1 (1840) (in force 1840-1844)
Allowing for two Justices of the Court of the District of Montreal to sit in vacation.

4 Victoria c.26 (1841) (in force 1841-1844)
Allowing for the appointment of a Commissioner of the Inferior term of the Court of the District of Montreal.

4&5 Victoria c.20 (1841) (in force 1841-1844)
Abolishing the Inferior terms of the Courts, and giving the Courts appellate jurisdiction over the District Courts.

4&5 Victoria c.22 (1841) (in force 1841-1844)
Extending the appellate jurisdiction of the Court of the District of Quebec to the Commissioners' Court of the Magdalen Islands.



3.2 District of Trois-Rivières

Establishment and Jurisdiction

A Court of King's Bench was established for the District of Trois-Rivières in the judicial reorganization of 1794. The Court had jurisdiction over all criminal matters, and civil matters involving sums over £St10, or affecting future rights. As such, it was equivalent in jurisdiction to the criminal and Superior terms of the Courts of the Districts of Quebec and Montreal. Despite the creation of the District of St. Francis in 1823, the Court of the District of Trois-Rivières retained its jurisdiction over all criminal matters arising within that part of the District of St. Francis previously within the District of Trois-Rivières.

In 1823, the Court was given appellate jurisdiction over the Provincial Court of the District of St. Francis in civil cases involving sums over £St10 arising in that part of the District of St. Francis previously within the District of Trois-Rivières. This was revoked in 1832, with the jurisdiction given to the Court of King's Bench the District of St. Francis. And in 1841, the Court was given appellate jurisdiction over the District Courts of the District of Trois-Rivières in civil cases involving sums over £St15.

In 1830, the Court was given Inferior terms, with summary jurisdiction over civil matters involving sums not over £St10; as such, the Court became equivalent in jurisdiction to those of the Districts of Quebec and Montreal. From 1841 to 1844, under the Special Council's aborted plan for judicial reorganization, the Inferior terms of the Court were abolished and their jurisdiction assumed by the District and Division Courts of the District.

Composition and Sessions

Originally, the Court was held, for criminal matters, by any two Justices of the Courts of King's Bench of the Districts of Quebec and Montreal, along with the Provincial Judge of the District of Trois-Rivières; or by any two of these, along with the Chief Justice of the Province or the Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench of the District of Montreal; and for civil matters, by any two of these. The Court originally had two terms annually; an additional term was added from 1818.

In 1830, the Provincial Judge was replaced by a Resident Judge of the Court. The Inferior terms were held by the Resident Judge, with six terms annually.

In 1838, an Assistant Judge of the Court could be appointed in the case of incapacitation of the Resident Judge, and in 1840, the Assistant Judge was given the full powers of the Resident Judge.

Removal and Revision

In civil matters, judgements of the Court in cases involving sums over £St20, or affecting future rights, could be appealed to the Provincial Court of Appeals. On the establishment of the Inferior terms in 1830, cases affecting future rights could be removed before judgement from the Inferior terms to the Superior terms of the Court.

In criminal matters, fines over £St100 imposed for misdemeanours could be appealed to the King or Queen and Council. Apart from this, judgements of the Court could not in general be appealed, although appeals could be made in certain specific circumstances.(23)

Legislation

34 George III c.6 (1794) (in force with amendments 1794-1849)
Establishing a Court of King's Bench for the District of Trois-Rivières.

57 George III c.18 (1817) (in force 1817-1844)
Giving the Court an additional Superior term.

3 George IV c.17 (1823) (in force 1823-1832)
Giving the Court appellate jurisdiction over the Provincial Court of the District of St. Francis.

10&11 George IV c.22 (1830) (in force with amendments 1830-1849)
Replacing the Provincial Judge with a Resident Judge, and giving the Court Inferior terms.

2 William II c.8 (1832)
Revoking the appellate jurisdiction of the Court over the Provincial Court of the District of St. Francis.

2 Victoria (2) c.13 (1838) (in force 1838-1844)
Allowing for the appointment of Assistant Judges of the Court.

3&4 Victoria c.24 (1840) (in force 1840-1844)
Giving the Assistant Judges of the Court the powers of the Resident Judge.

4&5 Victoria c.20 (1841) (in force 1841-1844)
Abolishing the Inferior terms of the Court, and giving the Court appellate jurisdiction over the District Courts.



3.3 District of St. Francis

Establishment and Jurisdiction

A Court of King's Bench was established for the District of St. Francis in 1830. The Court had jurisdiction over civil matters involving sums over £St10, or affecting future rights. As such, it was equivalent in jurisdiction to the Superior terms of the Courts of the Districts of Quebec and Montreal.

In 1832, the Court was given appellate jurisdiction over the Provincial Court of the District in civil cases involving sums over £St10. From 1841 to 1844, under the Special Council's aborted plan for judicial reorganization, the Court was given appellate jurisdiction over the District Courts of the District in civil cases involving sums over £St15.

Composition and Sessions

The Court was composed of one of the Justices of the Courts of King's Bench of the Districts of Quebec and Montreal, the Resident Judge of the District of Trois-Rivières, and the Provincial Judge of the District of St. Francis, and was held by all three of these, or the first two alone. The Court had two terms annually, held at Sherbrooke.

From 1839 to 1842, an Assistant Judge of the Court of King's Bench of the District of Trois-Rivières could replace the Resident Judge on the Court.

Revision

Judgements of the Court in cases involving sums over £St20, or affecting future rights, could be appealed to the Provincial Court of Appeals.

Legislation

10&11 George IV c.7 (1830) (in force with amendments 1830-1849)
Establishing a Court of King's Bench for the District of St. Francis.

2 William IV c.8 (1832) (in force with amendments 1832-1849)
Giving the Court appellate jurisdiction over the Provincial Court of the District.

2 Victoria (3) c.2 (1839) (in force 1839-1842)
Allowing an Assistant Judge of the Court to replace the Resident Judge on the Court.

4&5 Victoria c.20 (1841) (in force 1841-1844)
Giving the Court appellate jurisdiction over the District Courts of the District.



4. 1844-1849

While the Courts of King's Bench established before 1844 remained in operation after that date, there were considerable changes in their organization, jurisdiction, and even name. The Courts of all districts apart from the District of Gaspé were equivalent in jurisdiction, and are thus treated together; the Court of the District of Gaspé is treated in a separate sub-section.



4.1 Districts of Quebec, Montreal, Trois-Rivières, and St. Francis

Establishment and Jurisdiction

In the judicial reorganization of 1844, the Courts of King's Bench were renamed the Courts of Queen's Bench, and the Court of the District of St. Francis was given the same jurisdiction as those of the other districts. The Superior terms of the Courts were given jurisdiction over all criminal matters, and civil matters involving sums over £20, or where trial by jury was permitted. The Inferior terms of the Courts were re-established, with summary jurisdiction over civil matters involving sums not over £20; as such, they assumed the jurisdiction of the District and Division Courts, and held concurrent jurisdiction with the Commissioners' Courts and the Circuit Courts. Cases not over £6-5sh in the Inferior terms were to be determined according to equity.(24) In 1846, the jurisdiction of the Inferior terms was revoked wherever circuits of the Circuit Courts had been established.

In 1844, the Superior terms of the Courts were also given appellate jurisdiction over the Inferior terms of the Courts and the Circuit Courts of their respective districts, in civil cases involving sums over £10, or affecting future rights; and over the Commissioners' Courts in civil cases affecting future rights.

In the judicial reorganization of 1849, the existing Courts of Queen's Bench were abolished, along with the judicial posts associated with them. The criminal jurisdiction of the Courts was assumed by the Crown Side of the new Court of Queen's Bench for the province; their civil jurisdiction was assumed by the Superior Court and the Circuit Court.

Composition and Sessions

From 1844, the Superior terms of the Courts were held by the same officers as before. However, any distinction in powers between the Chief Justice and the Puisné Justices of the Courts was abolished, and the Provincial Judge of the District of St. Francis was given the same powers as a Justice of the Court. As well, Assistant Judges of the Courts could be appointed, with the same powers as a Justice of the Courts, if any of the latter were incapacitated. Similarly, the Commissioners of Bankrupts of the Districts of Trois-Rivières and St. Francis could be given the same powers as Assistant Judges of the Courts during their Superior terms if the Resident Judge of the District of Trois-Rivières or the Provincial Judge of the District of St. Francis respectively were incapacitated.

The Inferior terms of the Courts were held by any Justice of the Court in the Districts of Quebec and Montreal, by the Resident Judge in the District of Trois-Rivières, and by the Provincial Judge in the District of St. Francis.

The Courts of the Districts of Quebec and Montreal had eight Superior terms annually, of which two were for criminal matters and six for civil matters; the Court of the District of Trois-Rivières had three Superior terms annually for all matters; and the Court of the District of St. Francis had two Superior terms annually for all matters. Each Court had six Inferior terms annually. In 1846, the Courts of the Districts of Quebec and Montreal were reduced to six Superior and four Inferior terms annually.

Removal and Revision

In civil matters, cases where trial by jury was permitted, or affecting future rights, could be removed before judgement from the Inferior to the Superior terms of the same Court. Judgements of the Inferior terms in cases involving sums over £10, or affecting future rights, could be appealed to the Superior terms of the same Court. Judgements of the Superior Terms in cases involving sums over £St20, or affecting future rights, could be appealed to the Court of Appeals for Lower Canada.

In criminal matters, fines over £St100 imposed for misdemeanours could be appealed to the Queen and Council. Apart from this, judgements of the Courts could not in general be appealed, although appeals could be made in certain specific circumstances.(25)

Legislation

7 Victoria c.16 (1843) (in force with amendments 1844-1849)
Renaming the Courts of King's Bench as the Courts of Queen's Bench and reorganizing them.

7 Victoria c.19 (1843) (in force with amendments 1844-)
Extending the appellate jurisdiction of the Superior terms of the Courts to the Commissioners' Courts.

9 Victoria c.29 (1846) (in force 1846-1849)
Revoking the jurisdiction of the Inferior terms of the Courts wherever circuits of the Circuit Courts had been established, and reducing the terms of the Courts of the Districts of Quebec and Montreal.

12 Victoria c.38 (1849)
Abolishing the existing Courts.



4.2 District of Gaspé

Establishment and Jurisdiction

A Court of Queen's Bench was established for the District of Gaspé in the judicial reorganization of 1844. The Court had jurisdiction over all criminal matters, and civil matters involving sums over £20, or where trial by jury was permitted. As such, it had a jurisdiction equivalent to that of the Superior terms of the Courts in the other districts.

The Court also had appellate jurisdiction over the Circuit Courts of the district in civil cases involving sums over £10, or affecting future rights; and over the Commissioners' Courts of the district in civil cases affecting future rights.

The Court was abolished in the judicial reorganization of 1849. Its criminal jurisdiction was assumed by the Crown Side of the new Court of Queen's Bench for the province, and its civil jurisdiction by the Superior Court and the Circuit Court.

Composition and Sessions

The Court was held by any Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of the District of Quebec or the Resident Judge of the District of Trois-Rivières, and one of the District Judges of the District of Gaspé. The Court had two terms annually.

Revision

In civil matters, judgements of the Court in all cases could be appealed to the Court of Appeals for Lower Canada.

In criminal matters, fines over £St100 imposed for misdemeanours could be appealed to the Queen and Council. Apart from this, judgements of the Court could not in general be appealed, although appeals could be made in certain specific circumstances.(26)

Legislation

7 Victoria c.17 (1843) (in force with amendments 1844-1849)
Establishing a Court of Queen's Bench for the District of Gaspé.

7 Victoria c.19 (1843) (in force 1844-1849)
Extending the appellate jurisdiction of the Court to the Commissioners' Courts.

12 Victoria c.38 (1849)
Abolishing the Court.



5. 1849-1860

Under the judicial reorganization of 1849, the Court of Queen's Bench was centralized into a single institution and divided into two parts, the Crown Side and the Appeal Side. Although technically a single institution, in practice the widely differing functions of the Crown and Appeal Sides of the Court meant that they really comprised two separate institutions, and they are treated as such in this guide. Only the Crown Side is discussed here; the Appeal Side is dealt with in section III.

Establishment and Jurisdiction

A Crown Side of the Court of Queen's Bench was established in the judicial reorganization of 1849. The Crown Side of the Court had jurisdiction over all criminal matters in all districts apart from the District of Gaspé, where that jurisdiction was held by the Superior Court. From 1857, the Crown Side of the Court also had the same jurisdiction as a Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace in any district where such a court was not yet established (which in practice meant all of the new districts, where Courts of Quarter Sessions of the Peace were never established, and, from 1859, all of the other districts except for those of Quebec and Montreal).

Composition and Sessions

The Court was originally composed of a Chief Justice and three Puisné Judges; an extra Puisné Judge of the Court was added in 1857. The Crown Side of the Court was originally held by any Judge of the Court, or by any Judge of the Superior Court if exceptional circumstances led to the unavailability of a regular Judge of the Court of Queen's Bench. From 1857, the Crown Side of the Court could be held by any Judge of the Superior Court. Initially, from 1849, the Crown Side of the Court was to have two terms annually in each district of the province, as established by proclamation, apart from the District of Gaspé. From 1857, the terms of the Crown Side of the Court in all districts apart from those of Quebec and Montreal were to be established by proclamation, with at least two terms per year. In practice, in the new districts established in 1857-1858, these terms did not begin until 1862.

Revision

Fines over £St100 imposed for misdemeanours could be appealed to the Queen and Council. Apart from this, judgements of the Court could not in general be appealed, although appeals could be made in certain specific circumstances.(27) However, in 1857, the Court of Queen's Bench, Appeal Side, was explicitly given appellate jurisdiction over the Court of Queen's Bench, Crown Side, in criminal cases.

Legislation

12 Victoria c.37 (1849) (in force with amendments 1849-)
Establishing a Court of Queen's Bench for the province, with a Crown Side.

20 Victoria c.44 (1857) (in force 1857-)
Modifying the composition, jurisdiction and terms of the Crown Side of Court, and allowing appeals from the Crown Side to the Appeal Side of the Court.

Proclamations 1861-10-04 (in force 1861-)
Establishing the sittings of the Crown Side of the Court (as of 1862) in the districts of Arthabaska, Beauharnois, Bedford, Chicoutimi, Iberville, Joliette, Montmagny, Richelieu, and Terrebonne

Proclamations 1862-03-14 (in force 1862-)
Establishing the sittings of the Crown Side of the Court (as of 1862) in the districts of Beauce, Rimouski, Saguenay, and St. Hyacinthe

 


Donald Fyson, with the assistance of Evelyn Kolish and Virginia Schweitzer, The Court Structure of Quebec and Lower
Canada, 1764-1830 (Montreal: Montreal History Group, 1994/1997/2012). http://www.profs.hst.ulaval.ca/dfyson/courtstr/

Page updated 2012-09-20