Courts established under the authority of Parliament that have jurisdiction throughout Canada. The federal government has the right to establish a general court of appeals and courts for the better administration of the laws of Canada, and has exclusive authority over the appointment of judges of provincial superior courts and over procedure in all courts of criminal jurisdiction. Parliament has used its authority to establish the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada.
Courts that have explicit jurisdiction over administration of justice in the provinces and territories. Provincial/territorial courts deal with most offences under federal criminal laws (except, in some provinces/territories, those involving jury trials), provincial/territorial statutes and municipal by-laws; and, in some provinces/territories, with civil cases involving limited amounts of money. The names and divisions of provincial and territorial courts may vary from place to place, but their role remains the same. Preliminary hearings for numerous offences take place in Provincial/Territorial Court while resulting trials take place in Superior Court, and there are numerous offences which can be tried entirely in either court, depending on choices made by either the Crown or the defence or the jurisdictional rules in a particular province/territory. Provincial/Territorial Courts may also have specialized divisions which deal with specific types of cases, e.g., domestic violence, young offenders, family law matters. Judges are appointed and paid by provincial/territorial government.
As the highest level of court in a province or territory, the superior courts have wide criminal and civil jurisdiction as accorded by legislation including the power to review actions of the lower courts, as well as matters involving common law. Superior courts are divided into two levels: a trial level and an appeal level. The structure and names of the superior courts vary from province to province, territory to territory. There may be a single court, generally called a Supreme Court, with a trial division and an appeal division; or the superior court may be divided into two separate courts, with the trial courts named the Supreme Court or the Court of Queen's Bench, and the appeal courts called the Court of Appeal. The trial level hears the more serious civil and criminal cases and has the authority to grant divorces. The appeal level hears civil and criminal appeals from the lower level courts. Superior court judges are appointed and paid by the federal government.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.