Canada’s Court System

he purpose of Canada’s court system is to assist people in resolving their disputes in a just and equitable manner. In fulfilling this mandate, the courts interpret and apply laws and address issues that impact upon all facets of Canadian society. With the exception of the province of Québec, which administers a predominantly civil law system, the provinces and territories of Canada have a legal system similar to those utilized in the United States and Great Britain, and administer the common law.

Canada’s court system is organized in a four-tier system. At the bottom of the hierarchy are the provincial and territorial courts. These courts hear cases involving either federal or provincial/territorial laws and deal with a wide array of matters including, but not limited to, criminal offences, family law matters (except divorce) and provincial/territorial regulatory offences.

Provincial and territorial court judgments are appealed to the provincial/territorial superior courts1. Superior courts have “inherent jurisdiction.” As such, superior courts are able to hear cases pertaining to any area that is not specifically limited to another level of court. Within the purview of the superior courts are trials for the most serious criminal offences as well as divorce cases and cases involving large sums of money. Appeals from decisions of the superior courts and provincial/territorial courts are heard by an appellate division or a court of appeal for the applicable province or territory. Constitutional questions raised in appeals involving individuals, governments or governmental agencies are also heard by the court of appeal.

Running parallel to this system is the Federal Court system. Both the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal are similar to the superior courts except that they also have jurisdiction over civil law. An important distinction between the federal courts and the superior courts of the provinces and territories is that while the former can only deal with matters specified in federal statutes, the latter have jurisdiction in all matters except those specifically excluded by statute. The Federal Court has jurisdiction over interprovincial and federal-provincial disputes, intellectual property proceedings, citizenship appeals, Competition Act cases and cases involving Crown corporations or departments of the Government of Canada. Importantly, only the federal courts have jurisdiction to review decisions, orders and other administrative actions of federal boards, commissions and tribunals.

At the apex of the court structure sits the Supreme Court of Canada. The Supreme Court hears appeals from all other Canadian courts. It has jurisdiction over disputes in all areas of the law including administrative law, civil law, constitutional law and criminal law.”

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Language: English
Contact: Aird & Berlis LLP

Top court to establish patent dispute mediation center

Corea’s top court will establish a patent dispute mediation center as part of efforts to promptly help settle cross-border legal battles involving intellectual property rights, officials said Tuesday.

The Supreme Court said it would launch a special “one-stop” center under the Patent Court where the international intellectual property conflicts can be negotiated and resolved.

“Mediation is crucial in patent cases, as they mostly deal with highly professional knowledge and sensitive issues involving confidential information of the concerned businesses,” the authorities said.

The court will contemplate expanding the center as an international organ that encompasses Asian countries upon mutual negotiation in the future, they added.

This is part of the top court’s efforts to improve the specialty of the Patent Court. In June, the top court launched a special task force called the “Intellectual Property Hub Court” committee to discuss plans to boost the Patent Court’s professionalism.

Public voices have raised concern over improving the Patent Court’s professionalism as it frequently covers sensitive interest issues of global industries, especially the information technology sector and pharmaceutical businesses.

Along with the mediation center, the top court vowed to lengthen the maximum work term of the patent court judges to six years to improve their expertise, up from the current two to four years.

To better support judges’ technical deliberation, more than a dozen doctorate-degree patent experts will be recruited, the authorities said.

Starting from January, the Patent Court will cover a wider range of intellectual property litigations, such as compensation suits and sales bans, as the patent lawsuit-related rule is modified. The court currently only deals with lawsuits over annulling the trial decision.

Starting as early as February next year, the patent court’s trials will also be available in English, including testimony and pleas. Currently, all legal processes are conducted only in Korean. Foreign-language documents must also be submitted in Korean after translation.

Earlier this year, the committee said it would establish an “international justice department” in order better support the legal accessibility of foreigners.

English trials will be held only upon the agreement of the plaintiffs and defendants.

Once introduced, Korea will be the first East Asian country to adopt an English-language patent lawsuit system.”


Language: English
Contact: Lee Hyun-jeong –


PM opens Arbitration and Alternative Disputes Resolution Conference in Aqaba

Aqaba, Nov. 12 (Petra) – Deputizing for His Majesty King Abdullah II, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour patronized in Aqaba, on Thursday, the opening of the Arbitration and Alternative Disputes Resolution Conference, which is organized by the Ministry of Justice in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and a number of local and international experts and arbitrators.

In the opening speech, the prime minister said Jordan was one of the first countries to devote an independent and sophisticated arbitration law that simulates arbitration laws in developed countries. The first Jordanian arbitration law was enacted in 1953, he added.

“Although we are enjoying an outstanding professional and a respected judicial system, but we in Jordan have supported and adopted all legislation that would find alternative means of dispute settlement and resolution, particularly arbitration, conciliation and mediation,” Ensour said, while stressing that these means, in the present time, constitute genuine means to resolve disputes.

He pointed out that individuals are now turning to alternative means to resolve disputes, before resorting to the ordinary judicial system, because arbitration is one of the most important, widespread and common means to end disputes.

The premier added that Jordan has made quantum leaps towards a comprehensive, long and lasting reform, through developing the Kingdom’s legislative system, which ensures stable, stimulating and safe environment for Arab and foreign investments.

Ensour noted that arbitration in Jordan has been coping to the international trade’s new and advanced terms and was able to secure appropriate solutions to arising disputes, which contributed to the prosperity of the arbitration and development of a strong and integrated system.

Justice Minister, Bassam Talhouni, said resorting to alternative means of dispute resolution has become, in the present time, a matter of urgency to meet the requirements of modern business that courts can no longer address individually.

He announced that the ministry, through a committee of experts and lawmakers, has drafted a modern arbitration law that suits developments in the world of arbitration, enhances the confidence in Jordan’s legal system and provides the appropriate dispute resolution for investors and businessmen from Jordan and abroad. The new law would replace the current arbitration law No. 31 for the year 2001.

The conference, which is being held with the participation of Jordanian and international experts, specialists and arbitrators, will discuss a number of topics related to arbitration and alternative dispute resolution, including the amended bill of the Jordanian arbitration law.”