How do you address different Levels of Court in Alberta?
Alberta has a number of levels of court, but not everyone is called "Your Honour". Whenever a layperson is appearing in front of any level of Court in Alberta, they almost always call them "Your Honour". Unless they are appearing in front of the Provincial Court of Alberta, they will be wrong. So here are the different types of Court in Alberta and how you address them.
Provincial Court of Alberta
The Provincial Court of Alberta is created by the Provincial Court Act and deals with most regulatory and criminal matters, as well as civil claims up to $50,000. These Judges are appointed by the Province. Judges in this Court are called "Your Honour". There are also traffic commissioners in Alberta who are addressed as "Your Worship".
Masters in Chambers
Masters are judicial officers who deal with procedural matters, such as certain types of litigation applications, bankruptcy matters and maintenance enforcement. Masters are appointed by the Province. Masters may be addressed as "Sir", "Ma'am", Master, or Master (last name of master). Masters are not called "Your Honour"
Justices of the Court of Queens Bench
These are the superior trial judges in Alberta. They deal with serious criminal matters and higher value civil claims, as well as bankruptcy, constitutional, estate work and other matters. They are appointed by the Federal Government Justices are usually called "My Lord" or "My Lady". They may also be called by "Mister Justice or Madam Justice or Justice (last name of Justice). Sir and Ma'am also works.
The Federal Court
This is not strictly an Alberta Court. It deals with Federal matters, such as claims against the Federal Government, lawsuits in Federally regulated areas (such as Tax) and challenges to Federal Government decisions. They are addressed asJustice, Mr. Justice, or Madam Justice. they are not called My Lord or My Lady.
Justices of the Court of Appeal
This is Alberta's highest level of Court which is the final appeal within Alberta (but not overall depending on the case). They are appointed by the Federal Government They are referred the same as Justices of the Court of Queen's Bench. In writing they are addressed as Honourable Madam Justice or the Honourable Mr. Justice.
Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada
This is the final appeal court within Canada.These judges are called Justice, Mr. Justice, or Madam Justice. Lawyers are actually asked not to refer to them as My Lord and My Lady. In writing the Chief Justice is addressed as the Right Honourable, and the other Justices are address as the Honourable Madame Justice or the Honourable Mr. Justice.
If you are appearing in front of one of the different levels of Court, please feel free to contact us.
The information contained in this article is not legal advice. No solicitor client relationship is formed through this article. The reader is encouraged to retain counsel for advice in these matters.