Act to overhaul higher courts in P.E.I. comes into effect

Staff ~ The Guardian
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P.E.I. Supreme Court and Court of Appeals become separate divisions; special ceremony this week

Legislation to restructure the superior courts of justice in Prince Edward Island was proclaimed by the lieutenant governor in council, effective Jan. 1.

The Judicature Act replaces the Supreme Court Act and constitutes the Prince Edward Island Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island as separate courts.

Legislation to restructure the superior courts of justice in Prince Edward Island was proclaimed by the lieutenant governor in council, effective Jan. 1.

The Judicature Act replaces the Supreme Court Act and constitutes the Prince Edward Island Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island as separate courts.

Those courts formerly operated as the Appeal Division and Trial Division of the Supreme Court. The primary focus of the new

legislation is to formalize the separation of the two levels of court that previously existed within the Supreme Court structure.

The changes were requested by the chief justices of the Supreme Court Appeal Division and Trial Division.

The attorney general also saw a need to update the current legislation, especially regarding administration of the courts.

"The Supreme Court Act had not been updated for quite some time," said Greenan. "I am very pleased to have introduced this new legislation.

"With this modernization, P.E.I.'s courts are now structured in a way that is similar to other Canadian jurisdictions."

The new Judicature Act was passed in the spring session of the legislature and received Royal Assent on May 22, 2008. Subsequently, regulations made necessary by the new bill were completed in the fall of 2008.

Under the Judicature Act, the Court of Appeal will have the same jurisdiction and all the powers and authority previously belonging to or exercised by the Appeal Division.

The Court of Appeal will continue to be composed of the chief justice of Prince Edward Island and at least two other judges.

The Supreme Court will have all the jurisdiction, powers and authority previously belonging to or exercised by the Trial Division. The Supreme Court is composed of the chief justice of the Supreme Court and at least four other judges.

In celebration of the proclamation of the Judicature Act and the creation of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, there will be a special sitting of the courts on Friday, Jan. 23, at 3:30 p.m.

This is a public event that will include the ceremonial swearing in of the chief justices and judges by Lt.-Gov. Barbara Hagerman.

The sitting will include a presentation by Gerard Mitchell, former chief justice of Prince Edward Island on the Judicature Act and separation of the courts.

The proceeding will take place at the Sir Louis Henry Davies Law Courts and a public reception will follow in the court lobby.

Members of the public are invited to attend the ceremony.

Organizations: Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Prince Edward Island Court Royal Assent Trial Division

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island

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