Chief Justice of Canada
The Chief Justice of Canada is the presiding judge of the nine-member Supreme Court of Canada, the highest judicial body in Canada. As such, the chief justice is the highest-ranking judge of the Canadian court system; the Supreme Court Act grants plenary power to the Governor General to appoint—with the advice of the Prime Minister—a chief justice, who serves until they resign, are removed from office for cause, or attain the age of 75 years. By tradition, a new chief justice is chosen from among the Court's incumbent puisne justices; the chief justice has significant influence in the proceedural rules of the Court, presides when oral arguments are held, leads the discussion of cases among the justices. He or she is Deputy Governor General, Ex-officio chairman of the Canadian Judicial Council, heads the committee that selects recipients of the Order of Canada. Additionally, a chief justice assumes viceregal duties upon the death or incapacitation of the Governor-General. Since the Supreme Court was established in 1875, 18 people have served as chief justice.
The Court's first chief justice was William Buell Richards. Beverley McLachlin is the longest serving Canadian chief justice, was the first woman to hold the position; the Chief Justice is appointed by the Governor General-in-Council under the federal Supreme Court Act on the advice of the Prime Minister. The appointment is subject to the Supreme Court Act, which governs the administration and appointment of judges of the court. By this component of the Constitution of Canada, Judges appointed to the court must be "a judge of a superior court of a province or a barrister or advocate of at least ten years standing at the bar of a province." Tradition dictates. It is customary that a new chief justice be chosen alternately from among: the three justices who by law must be from Quebec, the other six justices from the rest of Canada. Since 1933, this tradition has only been broken once, when Brian Dickson of Manitoba was named to succeed Bora Laskin of Ontario in 1984; the Chief Justice's central duty is to preside at hearings before the Supreme Court.
The Chief Justice presides from the centre chair. If the Chief Justice is absent, the senior puisne judge presides; the Chief Justice chairs the Canadian Judicial Council, composed of all chief justices and associate chief justices of superior courts in Canada. This body, established in 1971 by the Judges Act, organizes seminars for federally appointed judges, coordinates the discussion of issues of concern to the judiciary, conducts inquiries, either on public complaint or at the request of the federal Minister of Justice or a provincial attorney general, into the conduct of any federally appointed judge; the Chief Justice is sworn as a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada prior to taking the judicial oath of office. He or she sits on the advisory council of Canada's highest civilian order, the Order of Canada. In practice however, the Chief Justice abstains from voting on a candidate's removal from the order because this process has so far only applied to individuals convicted in a lower court of a criminal offence, could create a conflict of interest for the Chief Justice if that individual appealed their conviction to the Supreme Court.
Under the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, each province has a three-person commission responsible for modifying that province's federal ridings. The chair of each such commission is appointed by the chief justice of that province; the Letters Patent of 1947 respecting the Office of Governor General provide that, should the Governor General die, become incapacitated, or be absent from the country for a period of more than one month, the Chief Justice or, if that office is vacant, the Senior Puisne Justice, of the Supreme Court would become the Administrator of Canada and exercise all the powers and duties of the Governor General. This has happened on three occasions: Chief Justices Lyman Duff and Robert Taschereau each did so, in 1940 and 1967 following the death of the incumbent Governor General, as did Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin when the Governor General underwent surgery in 2005; the Chief Justice and the other Justices of the Court serve as deputies of the Governor General for the purpose of giving Royal Assent to bills passed by parliament, signing official documents or receiving credentials of newly appointed high commissioners and ambassadors.
The current Chief Justice is Richard Wagner, who took office on December 18, 2017, replacing Beverley McLachlin, the first woman to hold this position. Born in Montreal on April 2, 1957, he had been a puisne Supreme Court justice for 5 years, 74 days at the time of his elevation to chief justice, he sat on the Quebec Court of Appeal. Since the Supreme Court was established in 1875, the following 18 persons have served as Chief Justice: This graphical timeline depicts the length of each justice's tenure as chief justice
High Court of Australia
The High Court of Australia is the supreme court in the Australian court hierarchy and the final court of appeal in Australia. It has both original and appellate jurisdiction, the power of judicial review over laws passed by the Parliament of Australia and the parliaments of the states, the ability to interpret the Constitution of Australia and thereby shape the development of federalism in Australia; the High Court is mandated by section 71 of the Constitution, which vests in it the judicial power of the Commonwealth of Australia. The Court was constituted by, its first members were appointed under, the Judiciary Act 1903, it now operates under sections 71 to 75 of the Constitution, the Judiciary Act, the High Court of Australia Act 1979. It is composed of seven Justices: the Chief Justice of Australia Susan Kiefel, six other Justices, they are appointed by the Governor-General of Australia on the advice of the federal government, under the constitution must retire at age 70. The High Court has had a permanent home in Canberra since 1979.
The majority of its sittings are held in the High Court building, situated in the Parliamentary Triangle overlooking Lake Burley Griffin. With an increasing utilisation of video links, sittings are often held in the state capitals; the High Court exercises appellate jurisdiction. The High Court is the court of final appeal with the ability to interpret the common law for the whole of Australia, not just the state or territory in which the matter arose; the High Court's broad jurisdiction is similar to that of the Supreme Court of Canada and unlike the Supreme Court of the United States which has a more limited jurisdiction. As such, the court is able to develop the common law across all the states and territories; this role, alongside its role in constitutional interpretation, is one of the court's most significant. As Sir Owen Dixon said on his swearing in as Chief Justice of Australia: "The High Court's jurisdiction is divided in its exercise between constitutional and federal cases which loom so in the public eye, the great body of litigation between man and man, or man and government, which has nothing to do with the Constitution, and, the principal preoccupation of the court."
This broad array of jurisdiction enables the High Court to take a leading role in Australian law and contributes to a consistency and uniformity among the laws of the different states. The original jurisdiction of the High Court refers to matters that are heard in the High Court; the Constitution confers potential original jurisdiction. Section 75 of the Constitution confers original jurisdiction in regard to "all matters": The conferral of original jurisdiction creates some problems for the High Court. For example, challenges against immigration-related decisions are brought against an officer of the Commonwealth within the original jurisdiction of the High Court. Section 76 provides that Parliament may confer original jurisdiction in relation to matters: Constitutional matters, referred to in section 76, have been conferred to the High Court by section 30 of the Judiciary Act 1903. However, the inclusion of constitutional matters in section 76, rather than section 75, means that the High Court's original jurisdiction regarding constitutional matters could be removed.
In practice, section 75 and section 75 are broad enough that many constitutional matters would still be within jurisdiction. The original constitutional jurisdiction of the High Court is now well established: the Australian Law Reform Commission has described the inclusion of constitutional matters in section 76 rather than section 75 as "an odd fact of history." The 1998 Constitutional Convention recommended an amendment to the constitution to prevent the possibility of the jurisdiction being removed by Parliament. Failure to proceed on this issue suggests that it was considered unlikely that Parliament would take this step; the requirement of "a matter" in section 75 and section 76 of the constitution means that a concrete issue must need to be resolved and the High Court cannot give an advisory opinion. The High Court's appellate jurisdiction is defined under section 73 of the Constitution; the High Court can hear appeals from the Supreme Courts of the states and territories, any federal court or court exercising federal jurisdiction, decisions made by one or more Justices exercising the original jurisdiction of the court.
However, section 73 allows the appellate jurisdiction to be limited "with such exceptions and subject to such regulations as the Parliament prescribes". Parliament has prescribed a large limitation in section 35A of the Judiciary Act 1903; this requires "special leave" to appeal. Special leave is granted only where a question of law is raised, of public importance. Therefore, while the High Court is the final court of appeal, it cannot be considered a general court of appeal; the decision as to whether to grant special leave to appeal is determined by one or more Justices of the High Court. That is, the Court exercises the power to decide which appeal cases it will consider; the issue of appeals from the High Court to the United Kingdom's Judicial Committee of the Privy Council was a significant one during the drafting of the Constitution and it continued to be significant in the years after the cour
West Virginia is a state located in the Appalachian region in the Southern United States, considered to be a part of the Middle Atlantic States. It is bordered by Pennsylvania to the north, Maryland to the east and northeast, Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest. West Virginia is the 41st largest state by area, is ranked 38th in population; the capital and largest city is Charleston. West Virginia became a state following the Wheeling Conventions of 1861, after the American Civil War had begun. Delegates from some Unionist counties of northwestern Virginia decided to break away from Virginia, although they included many secessionist counties in the new state. West Virginia was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, was a key border state during the war. West Virginia was the only state to form by separating from a Confederate state, the first to separate from any state since Maine separated from Massachusetts, was one of two states admitted to the Union during the American Civil War.
While a portion of its residents held slaves, most of the residents were yeomen farmers, the delegates provided for gradual abolition of slavery in the new state Constitution. The Census Bureau and the Association of American Geographers classify West Virginia as part of the Southern United States; however the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies West Virginia as a part of the Mid-Atlantic. The northern panhandle extends adjacent to Pennsylvania and Ohio, with the West Virginia cities of Wheeling and Weirton just across the border from the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, while Bluefield is less than 70 miles from North Carolina. Huntington in the southwest is close to the states of Ohio and Kentucky, while Martinsburg and Harpers Ferry in the Eastern Panhandle region are considered part of the Washington metropolitan area, in between the states of Maryland and Virginia; the unique position of West Virginia means that it is included in several geographical regions, including the Mid-Atlantic, the Upland South, the Southeastern United States.
It is the only state, within the area served by the Appalachian Regional Commission. The state is noted for its mountains and rolling hills, its significant logging and coal mining industries, its political and labor history, it is known for a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities, including skiing, whitewater rafting, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, hunting. Many ancient man-made earthen mounds from various prehistoric mound builder cultures survive in the areas of present-day Moundsville, South Charleston, Romney; the artifacts uncovered in these give evidence of village societies. They had a tribal trade system culture. In the 1670s during the Beaver Wars, the powerful Iroquois, five allied nations based in present-day New York and Pennsylvania, drove out other American Indian tribes from the region in order to reserve the upper Ohio Valley as a hunting ground. Siouan language tribes, such as the Moneton, had been recorded in the area. A century the area now identified as West Virginia was contested territory among Anglo-Americans as well, with the colonies of Pennsylvania and Virginia claiming territorial rights under their colonial charters to this area before the American Revolutionary War.
Some speculative land companies, such as the Vandalia Company, the Ohio Company and Indiana Company, tried to legitimize their claims to land in parts of West Virginia and present day Kentucky, but failed. This rivalry resulted in some settlers petitioning the Continental Congress to create a new territory called Westsylvania. With the federal settlement of the Pennsylvania and Virginia border dispute, creating Kentucky County, Kentuckians "were satisfied, the inhabitants of a large part of West Virginia were grateful."The Crown considered the area of West Virginia to be part of the British Virginia Colony from 1607 to 1776. The United States considered this area to be the western part of the state of Virginia from 1776 to 1863, before the formation of West Virginia, its residents were discontented for years with their position in Virginia, as the government was dominated by the planter elite of the Tidewater and Piedmont areas. The legislature had electoral malapportionment, based on the counting of slaves toward regional populations, the western white residents were underrepresented in the state legislature.
More subsistence and yeoman farmers lived in the west and they were less supportive of slavery, although many counties were divided on their support. The residents of this area became more divided after the planter elite of eastern Virginia voted to secede from the Union during the Civil War. Residents of the western and northern counties set up a separate government under Francis Pierpont in 1861, which they called the Restored Government. Most voted to separate from Virginia, the new state was admitted to the Union in 1863. In 1864 a state constitutional convention drafted a constitution, ratified by the legislature without putting it to popular vote. West Virginia abolished slavery by a gradual process and temporarily disenfranchised men who had held Confederate office or fought for the Confederacy. West Virginia's history has been profoundly affected by its mountainous terrain and vast river valleys, rich natural resources; these were all factors driving its economy and the lifestyles of its residents, who tended to live in many small isolated communities in the mountain valleys.
A 2010 analysis of
Courts of Northern Ireland
The courts of Northern Ireland are the civil and criminal courts responsible for the administration of justice in Northern Ireland: they are constituted and governed by Northern Ireland law. The United Kingdom does not have a single unified judicial system: England and Wales have one system, Scotland another and Northern Ireland a third. There are exceptions to that rule, for example in immigration law, the jurisdiction of the First Tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal covers the whole of the United Kingdom, in employment law, there is a single system of Employment Tribunals for England and Wales and Scotland. Additionally, the Military Court Service has jurisdiction over all members of the armed forces of the United Kingdom in relation to offences against military law. To overcome problems resulting from the intimidation of jurors and witnesses, the right to a jury trial in Northern Ireland was suspended for certain terrorist offences in 1972, the so-called "Diplock courts" were introduced to try people charged with paramilitary activities.
Diplock courts are common in Northern Ireland for crimes connected to terrorism. Administration of the courts is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service; the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom was created by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. It took its duties up on 1 October 2009, it is the highest court of appeal in Northern Ireland, hearing ultimate appeals from all the courts of the United Kingdom, other than Scottish criminal cases. The Supreme Court has taken over the appellate jurisdiction vested in the House of Lords; the Court of Judicature of Northern Ireland is constituted by the Judicature Act 1978. Until 1 October 2009 its name was the Supreme Court of Judicature; the Court of Judicature is the most important superior court of Northern Ireland. It consists of the following courts: The Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland The High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland The Crown CourtThe title of the court was changed on 1 October 2009 when the relevant provisions of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 came into force establishing the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
The Court of Appeal is the highest court of Northern Ireland. Appeal from the Court of Appeal lies to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom; the Court of Appeal hears appeals from the Crown Court, High Court, county courts, courts of summary jurisdiction and tribunals. The High Court of Justice is, like its English equivalent, split into three divisions: Queen's Bench Division, Family Division and Chancery Division; the High Court is located in the Royal Courts of Belfast. The Crown Courts hear more serious criminal cases; these are indictable offences and "either way" offences which are committed for trial in the Crown Courts rather than the magistrates' courts. The County Courts are the main civil courts. While higher-value cases are heard in the High Court, the County Courts hear a wide range of civil actions, consumer claims, appeals from magistrates' courts; the County Courts are called Family Care Centres when hearing proceedings brought under the Children Order 1995 and appeals from the family proceedings courts.
There are seven County Court divisions in Northern Ireland. Below the High Court are several classes of courts. Magistrates' courts hear less-serious criminal cases and conduct preliminary hearings in more serious criminal cases, they are divided into 21 petty sessions districts. The Crown Court hears all serious criminal cases; when sitting as family proceedings courts the magistrates' courts hear proceedings brought under the Children Order 1995. Additionally, there is the Enforcement of Judgments Office, coroners' courts, which investigate the circumstances of sudden, violent or unnatural deaths. List of courts in Northern Ireland List of Lords Justices of Appeal of Northern Ireland List of High Court judges of Northern Ireland List of Justices of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom Courts of the Republic of Ireland / Judiciary of the Republic of Ireland Courts of England and Wales / Judiciary of England and Wales Courts of Scotland / Judiciary of Scotland Law of the United Kingdom Organisation of justice in Northern Ireland The Court Structure in Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service official website
President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
The President of the Supreme Court is the president of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. The office is equivalent to the now-defunct position of Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary known as the Senior Law Lord, the highest ranking among the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary; the current President is Lady Hale, since 2 October 2017. From 1900 to 1969, when the Lord Chancellor was not present, a former Lord Chancellor would preside at judicial sittings of the House of Lords. If no former Lord Chancellor was present, the most senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary present would preside, seniority being determined by rank in the peerage. In the years following World War II, it became less common for Lord Chancellors to have time to gain judicial experience in office, making it anomalous for former holders of the office to take precedence; as a result, on 22 May 1969, the rules were changed such that if the Lord Chancellor was not present, the most senior Law Lord, by appointment as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary rather than peerage, would preside.
In 1984, the system was amended to provide that judges be appointed as Senior and Second Senior Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, rather than taking the roles by seniority. The purpose of the change was to allow an ailing Lord Diplock to step aside from presiding, yet remain a Law Lord. On 1 October 2009, the judicial functions of the House of Lords were transferred to the new Supreme Court under the provisions of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005; the Senior Law Lord, Lord Phillips, the Second Senior Law Lord became the President and the Deputy President of the new court. The same day, the Queen by warrant established a place for the President of the Supreme Court in the order of precedence after the Lord Speaker. Lord Reid Lord Wilberforce Lord Diplock Lord Fraser Lord Scarman Lord Keith of Kinkel Lord Goff Lord Browne-Wilkinson Lord Bingham Lord Phillips Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom Senior President of Tribunals Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Lord President of the Court of Session
Supreme Court of Ireland
The Supreme Court of Ireland is the highest judicial authority in Ireland. It is a court of final appeal and exercises, in conjunction with the Court of Appeal and the High Court, judicial review over Acts of the Oireachtas; the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to ensure compliance with the Constitution of Ireland by governmental bodies and private citizens. It sits in the Four Courts in Dublin; the Supreme Court was formally established on 29 September 1961 under the terms of the 1937 Constitution of Ireland. Prior to 1961, a transitory provision of the 1937 Constitution permitted the Supreme Court of the Irish Free State to continue, though the justices were required to take the new oath of office prescribed by the 1937 Constitution; the latter court was established by the Courts of Justice Act 1924 under the terms of the 1922 Constitution of the Irish Free State. Prior to 1924, a transitory provision of the 1922 Constitution permitted the Supreme Court of Judicature to continue, the latter established in 1877 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Whereas the 1924 act was a comprehensive revision of the court's foundation preserving little of the 1877 arrangement, the 1961 act was a brief formal restatement in terms of the 1937 Constitution. The Supreme Court consists of its president called the Chief Justice, not more than nine ordinary members. There are two ex officio members: the President of the Court of Appeal who sits in the Court of Appeal, the President of the High Court who sits in the High Court; the Supreme Court sits in divisions of five or seven judges. Two or more divisions may sit at the same time; when determining whether the President is permanently incapacitated within the meaning of Article 12 of the constitution, ruling on the constitutionality of a bill referred to it by the President under Article 26, or ruling on the constitutionality of any law the court must consist of at least five members. Judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President of Ireland in accordance with the binding advice of the Government, since 1995, act in turn on the non-binding advice of a judicial advisory board.
List of Judges of the Supreme Court of Ireland Under the Courts and Court Officers Act, 1995 the retirement age of ordinary judges of the Supreme Court was reduced from 72 years to 70 years. Judges appointed prior to the coming into operation of that Act may continue in office until aged 72; the Courts Act, 1997 limited the term of office of a person appointed to the post of Chief Justice after the coming into operation of the Act to a period of seven years. A former Chief Justice may continue as a member of the Court until he or she reaches the statutory retirement age; the Supreme Court hears appeals from the Court of Appeal, as part of the transitional arrangements following the establishment of the Court of Appeal, from the High Court, the Court of Criminal Appeal and the Courts-Martial Appeal Court, where cases have not been transferred from the Supreme Court to the Court of Appeal. The Court's power to hear appeals can be restricted or excluded altogether, with the exception of appeals concerning the consistency of a law with the constitution.
The Supreme Court hears points of law referred to it from the Circuit Court. The Supreme Court only has original jurisdiction in two cases; this is when a Bill is referred to it by the President for an opinion on its constitutionality before promulgation under Article 26 of the Constitution or when the court must determine under Article 12 of the Constitution whether the President has become incapacitated. The Supreme Court had little discretion to determine which cases it hears as requirements to seek the leave of either the trial court or the Supreme Court itself before an appeal could be brought were rare. After the Thirty-third Amendment created the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court's appelate jurisdiction is by leave; the Supreme Court exercises, in conjunction with the High Court, the power to strike down laws which are inconsistent with the constitution. The courts grant injunctions against public bodies, private bodies and citizens to ensure compliance with the constitution; the Irish constitution explicitly provides for the judicial review of legislation.
Acts passed after the coming into force of the constitution, are invalid if "repugnant" to the constitution, while laws in force prior to the coming into force of the constitution are invalid if "inconsistent" with the constitution. The constitution provides, under Article 26, for the judicial review of bills before they are signed into law; the power to refer bills is exercised by the President after consulting the Council of State. When the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of a bill referred to it under Article 26, its constitutionality can never again be questioned in any court whatsoever. Supreme Court judges are free to deliver their own judgements, whether dissenting and concurring. There is an exception when considering the constitutionality of a bill referred by the President under Article 26 of the Constitution, for which only a single judgment can be delivered; the single-judgment rule applied when considering the constitutionality of an Act of the Oireachtas passed under the 1937 Constitution.
Acts passed prior to 1937 have always permitted multiple judgments. After a slow start in its first two decades of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has expounded a significant constitutional jurisprudence; this slo
Supreme Court of Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court of Canada, the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. The court grants permission to between 40 and 75 litigants each year to appeal decisions rendered by provincial and federal appellate courts, its decisions are the ultimate expression and application of Canadian law and binding upon all lower courts of Canada, except to the extent that they are overridden or otherwise made ineffective by an Act of Parliament or the Act of a provincial legislative assembly pursuant to section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The creation of the Supreme Court of Canada was provided for by the British North America Act, 1867, renamed in 1982 the Constitution Act, 1867; the first bills for the creation of a federal supreme court, introduced in the Parliament of Canada in 1869 and in 1870, were withdrawn. It was not until 8 April 1875 that a bill was passed providing for the creation of a Supreme Court of Canada. However, prior to 1949, the Supreme Court did not constitute the court of last resort: litigants could appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.
As well, some cases could bypass the court and go directly to the Judicial Committee from the provincial courts of appeal. The Supreme Court formally became the court of last resort for criminal appeals in 1933 and for all other appeals in 1949; the last decisions of the Judicial Committee on cases from Canada were made in the mid-1950s, as a result of their being heard in a court of first instance prior to 1949. The increase in the importance of the Court was mirrored by the numbers of its members; the Court was established first with six judges, these were augmented by an additional member in 1927. In 1949, the bench reached its current composition of nine justices. Prior to 1949, most of the appointees to the Court owed their position to political patronage; each judge had strong ties to the party in power at the time of their appointment. In 1973, the appointment of a constitutional law professor Bora Laskin as chief justice represented a major turning point for the Court. In this period, appointees either came from academic backgrounds or were well-respected practitioners with several years experience in appellate courts.
Laskin's federalist and liberal views were shared by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who recommended Laskin's appointment to the Court. The Constitution Act, 1982 expanded the role of the Court in Canadian society by the addition of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which broadened the scope of judicial review; the evolution from the Dickson court through to the Lamer court witnessed a continuing vigour in the protection of civil liberties. Lamer's criminal law background proved an influence on the number of criminal cases heard by the Court during his time as chief justice. Nonetheless, the Lamer court was more conservative with Charter rights, with only about a 1% success rate for Charter claimants. Lamer was succeeded as chief justice by Beverly McLachlin in January 2000, she is the first woman to hold that position. McLachlin's appointment resulted in a more centrist and unified Court. Dissenting and concurring opinions were fewer than during the Lamer Courts. With the 2005 appointments of Justices Louise Charron and Rosalie Abella, the court became the world's most gender-balanced national high court, four of its nine members being female.
Justice Marie Deschamps' retirement on 7 August 2012 caused the number to fall to three, however the appointment of Suzanne Côté on 1 December 2014 restored the number to four. After serving on the Court for 28 years, 259 days, McLachlin retired in December 2017, her successor as chief justice is Richard Wagner. The structure of the Canadian court system is pyramidal, a broad base being formed by the various provincial and territorial courts whose judges are appointed by the provincial or territorial governments. At the next level are the provinces' and territories' superior courts, where judges are appointed by the federal government. Judgments from the superior courts may be appealed to a still higher level, the provincial or territorial courts of appeal. Several federal courts exist: the Tax Court of Canada, the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada. Unlike the provincial superior courts, which exercise inherent or general jurisdiction, the federal courts' jurisdiction is limited by statute.
In all, there are over 1,000 federally appointed judges at various levels across Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada rests at the apex of the judicial pyramid; this institution hears appeals from the provincial courts of last resort the provincial or territorial courts of appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal, although in some matters appeals come straight from the trial courts, as in the case of publication bans and other orders that are otherwise not appealable. In most cases, permission to appeal must first be obtained from the court. Motions for leave to appeal to the Court are heard by a panel of three judges of the Court and a simple majority is determinative. By convention, this panel never explains why it grants or refuses leave in any particular case, but the Court hears cases of national importance or where the case allows the Court to settle an important issue of law. Leave is granted, meaning that for most litigants, provincial courts of appeal are courts of last resort, but leave to appeal is not required for some cases criminal cases and appeals from provincial references.
A final source of cases is the referral power of the federa