Pages 1-1034 Volume II: Pages 1035-2002
OF THE DEBATES OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS OF THE DOMINION OF CANADA FOURTH SESSION-THIRTEENTH PARLIAMENT 10-11 GEORGE V, 1920 IN FIVE VOLUMES
Pages 2003-3078 Volume IV: Pages 3079-4017
VOLUME CXLIII COMPRISING THE PERIOD FROM THE FIFTH DAY OF MAY TO THE FIRST DAY OF JUNE. 1920, INCLUSIVE.
IHotisc of Commons Debates
Wednesday, May 5, 1920.
EXCHEQUER COURT ACT AMENDMENT.
Rt. Hon. iC. J. DOHERTY (Minister of Justice) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 108, to amend the Exchequer Court Act.
Hon. Mr. MACKENZIE KING:
Will .the right hon. gentleman please explain?
The first purpose of the Bill is to make provision for the constitution of the Exchequer Court so as to bring it into correspondence with a provision that was passed the session before last as an amendment to the Judges Act. The Exchequer Court as constituted under the Exchequer Court Act is composed of the judge of the Exchequer Court and an assistant judge. When the amendment to the Judges Act was passed in the first session of 1919, there was in contemplation a modification of the constitution of the court, and in making provision for salaries, provisions were made to correspond with that contemplated modification. Salaries were provided for the president of the court and for two judges, whereas the Act constituting the court created only a judge of the court and an assistant judge. The purpose of the present Bill is to meet, I might say half way, that provision in the Judges Act, which in itself will have to be modified by substituting in the Exchequer Court Act for the provision that the court shall consist of a judge and an assistant judge, a provision that the court shall consist of a president of the court and one puisne judge. The provision in the Salaries Act will have to be made to correspond to that, the number of judges being cut down from two to one. Then, there is a modification of the existing provision with regard to the possible provision of a deputy judge in cases where one may be required.
The next provision is in regard to the office of registrar.
The Orange Sentinel cannot hear.
Mr. DOHERTY': I certainly am most
anxious that all vigilant "sentinels" shall be aware of what I am doing. The second purpose of the Bill is to make provision enabling the registrar of 'the court, with the authority of the president or the judge, to deal with certain practice matters, and in that connection provision is made for the appointment and the salary of the registrar.
Motion agreed to, and Bill read a first time. /SUPREME COURT ACT AMENDMENT. Rt, Hon. C. J. DOHERTY (Minister of Justice) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 109, to amend the Supreme Court Act.
Hon. Mr. MACKENZIE KING:
The purpose of the proposed change is to bring about a simplification and uniformity in the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and also to prevent appeals being brought to it in .matters of trifling importance on the plea that title to land or future rights are involved. To accomplish the .purposes intended, it is proposed that appeals as of right to the Supreme Court should be restricted to cases in which the amount or value of the matter in controversy in the appeal, whatever its nature, exceeds the sum of $2,000 exclusive of costs and that in all other cases an appeal shall lie ordinarily only by special leave of the highest court of last resort in the province.. Provision is made for appeals per saltum, that is, for appeals from courts other than the final court of last resort in the province. But such appeals are subject to leave by the court of final resort in the province concerned.
Provision is also made for appeals that arise under section 232 of the Railway Act, where the Supreme Court or High Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Court of Appeal, and there is no appeal from the former to the latter, and, therefore, under
the law as it now stands, no appeal to the Supreme Court under the existing jurisdiction.
As the law now stands, in all the provinces of Canada, except Quebec and except in the special cases with regard to titles to real estate and so forth, the right to appeal now depends upon a sum exceeding $1,000, or property of equivalent value, being involved in the appeal. In Quebec, on the other hand, the corresponding restriction on the right to appeal is to cases in which the matter in controversy in the action, that is, demanded in the action, amounts to at least $2,000. Thus a judgment for $100 damages recovered in Quebec, if upheld in the Court of Appeals, is now appealable de piano to the Supreme Court, if the plaintiff s original demand was not less thani $2,000 It is felt that an appeal actually involving a matter of comparatively small value should not be permitted as of right merely because the plaintiff had been advised to claim a comparatively large sum in the first instance. These cases are provided for by extending to the province of Quebec the power to grant leave now existing in the other provinces, hut as modified in section 41 of the present Bill. The Bill substantially involves giving to the provincial courts in "all the provinces exclusive rights to grant leave to appeal in cases not now appealable de piano.
Do I understand that to mean that the judgment must he for over $2,000 in Quebec now?
In order that there
should be an appeal de piano, the judgment itself, the amount in issue on the appeal to the Supreme Court, must he $2,000, and the same provision will hold good as regards all the provinces. But to afford a recourse to those parties who had, because of the original amount of their demands, a right to appeal, and who may consider that they are being deprived of some substantial right, there will be provision whereby in cases of that kind, upon leave from the court of last resort in t'he province, an appeal may be had to the Supreme Court, although the amount at issue on the appeal is not $2,000. That provision also will be common to all the provinces.
The principal purpose of the Bill is to bring about uniformity in the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, doing away with the present existing distinctions in that jurisdiction, depending upon the province from which the appeal comes.
To summarize the Bill, under it, in order to be appealable to the Supreme Court, a
judgment must be rendered in a judicial proceeding as defined. The Bill contains a definition of a judicial proceeding, really adopting, I think, the present accepted view, but it is put in in order to clear up difficulties and differences. The judgment must not .be discretionary, except in equitable proceedings in provinces other than Quebec. It must be a final judgment, as defined in the Bill, unless it directs a new trial or grants or refuses a non-suit, and finally, it must not be rendered in a criminal cause or in habeas corpus, certiorari or prohibition arising out of a criminal charge, or in habeas corpus on extradition. To be appealable as of right, the judgment must involve matter amounting to or having a value exceeding $2,000 exclusive of costs and must be rendered by the highest court of final resort in the province. Appeals from any other court require the leave of the highest court of final resort in the province, or if $2,000 be involved, the consent of the parties. If the judgment be rendered in a proceeding originating before any court, board or commission, of which the judges or presiding officers are not appointed by the Dominion Government, or if it involves less than $1,000 (except in the special cases; that is, the special cases covered by clauses (a) to (e), that is to say, cases having to do with titles to land and so forth) leave of the highest court of final resort in the province to appeal from it is required.
If an amount between $1,000 and $2,000 is involved, and the proceeding originated in a court of which the judges are appointed by the Dominion Government and in the special cases mentioned, that is cases with regard to title to land, future rights, validity of statutes and patents and so forth, leave to appeal may be given by the Supreme Court if refused by the highest court of final resort in the province.
Motion agreed to, and Bill read a first time.