Federal Court of Canada

The power to establish courts in Canada is conferred on both provincial legislatures and Parliament. The Federal Court of Canada was established by Parliament in 1971 to replace the Exchequer Court and has jurisdiction over lawsuits against the federal government and specialized areas including admiralty, aeronautics, patents and copyright, as well as the power to review decisions of federal agencies and officials. In some specialized areas it shares concurrent jurisdiction with provincial superior courts.

Until 2003 the Federal Court of Canada consisted of two divisions: the Trial Division and the Court of Appeal. When the Federal Courts Act came into effect in 2003, the divisions became two separate courts: the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal. The Federal Court hears lawsuits and initial applications to review some types of governmental actions; the Federal Court of Appeal hears appeals from the Federal Court and supervises the formal decisions of federal tribunals. Decisions of the Court of Appeal can be appealed, with leave, to the SUPREME COURT OF CANADA. The Federal Court's main office is in Ottawa, but it sits throughout the country. According to the Federal Courts Act, the Federal Court consists of a Chief Justice and 36 other judges, and the Federal Court of Appeal consists of a Chief Justice and 12 other judges.

See also JUDICIARY; COURTS OF LAW.