Legal Studies 3080


Federal Court



The Supreme Court of Canada is not an Alberta court.  This is the highest court of appeal in Canada.  Its cases involve important points of law that come to it from the highest provincial courts of appeal from across the country. If the judges in the provincial Court of Appeal cannot all agree on a decision, the losing party has an automatic right to appeal to the Supreme Court. Otherwise, a panel of Supreme Court justices decides which cases are important enough for the court to take on.

Not all of the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada are needed to hear a case, but it is always necessary to have an odd number because frequently the justices do not all agree. If a case results in a split decision, one side always predominates and writes up the majority decision, while the other side writes up the dissenting decision . The majority decision, of course, is ultimately the decision of the court, which means that things come down to the judgement of one justice.

Once the Supreme Court of Canada has decided an issue, there is no further appeal. This court's decision is the law.