Manitoba has three main courts: The Court of Appeal, the Court of Queen’s Bench, and the Provincial Court. Each deals with the distinct scope of responsibility, although there are instances when they have shared functions.
Court of Appeal
This court is the senior and final court in Manitoba. It is headed by the Chief Justice of Manitoba and is composed of 10 judges, federally appointed, pursuant to the Judges Act. The court hears appeals from the Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench and Provincial Court of Manitoba and deals with criminal, civil, family, and administrative law issues. It is located in Winnipeg.
To know more about the Court of Appeal, watch this video:
The Queen’s Bench
This is the highest trial court for the province. It is a court of general and inherent jurisdiction, which means that court judges hear cases of all kinds and possess powers that go beyond what is conferred on them by the statute. It hears the most serious criminal trials and civil claims. Under this court is the Family Division that deals with cases relating to family law and child protection. Small claims are also under this court. The Small Claims Court deals with settling monetary disputes that do not exceed $10,000. To know who can file and where to file a small claim, go to this page: Small Claim Information.
Here is a view of how the Court of Queen’s Bench courtroom functions and looks like:
This court mainly deals with criminal cases in the province. However, it may have limited jurisdiction with the Court of Queen’s Bench in family law matters that originate outside of Winnipeg. After a person is charged, the court hears bail applications, presides over first appearance courts, resolution courts, preliminary inquiries (to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to order an accused to stand trial), and various types of trial courts. It also hears all Youth Court cases in Manitoba.
To learn more about the kinds of cases the Provincial Court hears, watch this video:
What happens when you are called for Jury Duty?
You may have a chance to be involved with the court if you are selected to serve jury duty. If you are summoned for it, don’t be afraid. Jury duty is your democratic right, a civic responsibility, and a great honour. The following video explains how jury selection is made and what you must do when you receive a summons:
For jury duty, you will have to go to the Court of Queen’s Bench. Usually, this will involve hearing criminal cases, but there can be jury trials for civil cases involving defamation, false imprisonment, malicious persecution, and malicious arrest as well. The judge is the one who provides the jury with instructions and general information before the trial starts. Your role is to listen, weigh the facts presented in court, and make lawful and just decisions.
If it is your first time in the Manitoba courts, you can watch this video for some general guidelines to know the do’s and don’ts inside the court:
Manitoba’s court system
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