The Court System


The field of law is very broad, and there are many ways people can end up in court. Even a "super court" wouldn't be able to handle all of the cases on its own, so several courts share the job. What are the differences between all of these courts?


Quebec Courts and Canadian Courts

In Canada, some subjects concern the whole country. These subjects are under the responsibility of the federal government in Ottawa. We say that they are under "federal jurisdiction".

Other subjects concern each province separately and are the responsibility of the provinces. We say that these subjects are under "provincial jurisdiction".

So, in Canada, we have different courts that deal with different subjects:

  • The Federal Court and federal administrative tribunals hear cases involving subjects under federal jurisdiction. (Tribunals are a kind of court.)
  • Superior courts, provincial courts, municipal courts and other provincial tribunals hear cases involving subjects under provincial jurisdiction, and for practical reasons, they sometimes also hear cases under federal jurisdiction

Now let's take a look at what happens in Quebec.


Jurisdiction of the Courts

In Quebec, each court has its own area of jurisdiction. In other words, each court hears certain types of cases. The various courts complement each other and work together to form our legal system.

The law says which courts have jurisdiction over which areas. Several factors come into play when deciding which court is responsible:

  • where the events of the case took place
  • the type of problem
  • the amount of money involved

Lawyers have to be very familiar with the different jurisdictions so they can file their lawsuits in the right court.


Trial Courts and Courts of Appeal

If you have a legal problem and want to go to court to settle it, you have to begin in a trial court.


Important !
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.