- Quebec Court of Appeal
As a "Superior Court" under section 96 of the Constitution Act, 1867, Court of Appeal judges are appointed by the Governor-General of Canada (in practical terms, the Prime Minister of Canada). Appointees must be members of the Quebec Bar, but need not have had previous experience as a judge. However, appointees almost always have some experience as a judge, usually on the Superior Court of Quebec.
Under the Code of Civil Procedure of Quebec and the Criminal Code of Canada, someone wishing to appeal a decision of the Superior Court of Quebec generally has 30 days to file an appeal with the Court of Appeal. Civil cases usually must have at least $50,000 in dispute to be heard. The Court of Appeal will overrule a lower court decision if it is "incorrect" on a question of law or "patently unreasonable" on an important factual finding. The Court of Appeal almost never hears witnesses, and lawyers' oral and written submissions are kept to strict maximum lengths. A normal case will take several months from filing of an appeal to a decision by the Court of Appeal, but the Court may hear a case within hours or days in an emergency.
Appeals of Court of Appeal decisions are heard before the Supreme Court of Canada, which is located in the federal capital of Ottawa, Ontario. The Quebec Court of Appeal is overruled by the Supreme Court more often than the courts of appeal of other provinces; this has been speculated to be due to differences in legal culture between the two courts, but it may simply be a statistical anomaly due to the low number of cases heard by the Supreme Court from smaller provinces.
The ability of the Supreme Court of Canada, which has six of its nine justices from common law provinces and only three from the civil law province of Quebec, to overrule the Court of Appeal of Quebec has occasionally been raised as a political issue by Quebec nationalists, who worry that it erodes Quebec's distinctive legal culture. (In practice, issues of civil law are heard at the Supreme Court by its three Quebec members plus two of its common law members).
Perhaps the most (in)famous decision of the Court of Appeal was Morgentaler v. The Queen (1974), in which the Court of Appeal overturned a jury decision acquitting Montreal Doctor Henry Morgentaler of performing an abortion, despite Morgentaler publicly admitting that he had done so. This was the first time in Canada that a jury acquittal had been replaced by a conviction, on appeal, rather than a new trial being ordered. The Court of Appeal was overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1975. Subsequently Parliament amended the Criminal Code of Canada removing the ability of provincial courts of appeal to substitute jury acquittals with convictions.
The Court was created on May 30, 1849 as the Court of Queen's Bench (in French, Cour du Banc de la Reine). In 1974 it was officially renamed the Quebec Court of Appeal.
Position Name Appointed Nominated By Position Prior to Appointment Chief Justice Nicole Duval Hesler November 22, 2006
October 7, 2011 (as Chief Justice)
Harper Quebec Superior Court
Court of Appeal
Justice Marc Beauregard* May 1, 1980 Trudeau Quebec Superior Court Justice André Brossard* June 30, 1989 Mulroney Quebec Superior Court Justice Jacques Chamberland* June 10, 1993 Mulroney Deputy Attorney General for Quebec Justice André Forget* May 9, 1996 Chretien Quebec Superior Court Justice France Thibault December 1, 1998 Chretien Quebec Superior Court Justice Louis Rochette February 1, 2000 Chretien Quebec Superior Court Justice François Pelletier June 6, 2000 Chretien Quebec Superior Court Justice Benoît Morin* December 4, 2001 Chretien Quebec Superior Court Justice André Rochon* February 26, 2002 Chretien Quebec Superior Court Justice Pierre J. Dalphond October 1, 2002 Chretien Quebec Superior Court Justice Yves-Marie Morissette November 7, 2002 Chretien Professor at McGill Law Justice Allan R. Hilton September 26, 2003 Chretien Quebec Superior Court Justice François Doyon May 7, 2004 Martin Quebec Superior Court Justice Julie Dutil September 24, 2004 Martin Quebec Superior Court Justice Marie-France Bich September 24, 2004 Martin Professor at Universite de Montreal Faculty of Law Justice Paul Vézina* February 25, 2005 Martin Quebec Superior Court Justice Lorne Giroux February 25, 2005 Martin Professor at Université Laval Law Justice Jacques Dufresne May 13, 2005 Martin Quebec Superior Court Justice Jacques A. Léger January 22, 2009 Harper Quebec Superior Court Justice Nicholas Kasirer July 31, 2009 Harper Dean of McGill Law Justice Guy Gagnon September 29, 2009 Harper Quebec Superior Court Justice Jean Bouchard October 1, 2009 Harper Quebec Superior Court Justice Richard Wagner February 3, 2011 Harper Quebec Superior Court Justice Jacques R. Fournier October 7, 2011 Harper Quebec Superior Court
- *supernumerary judge
- Julien Chouinard (1974 - September, 1979)
- Claire L'Heureux-Dubé (1979 - April, 1987)
- Louis LeBel (June, 1984 - January, 2000)
- Morris Fish (June, 1989 - August, 2003)
- Marie Deschamps (March 1992 - August, 2002)
- Jean-Louis Baudouin (May 1989 - 2008)
Courts of Canada Federal Appeal Superior Provincial Military History
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