The Alberta government is working to address mounting pressures facing the province’s justice system by adding more judicial positions to the Court of Queen’s Bench and Court of Appeal and increasing legal aid funding.
In total, 10 new positions — nine on the Court of Queen’s Bench, one on the Court of Appeal — will be created through amendments to provincial legislation this fall. The increase brings the number of justices per capita in Alberta in line with that in other provinces.
The Alberta government has been working, and will continue to work, with the federal government to encourage them to make judicial appointments to these positions. Although provinces can increase the number of justice positions on superior courts, only the federal government has the authority to approve and appoint justices.
An additional $9.4 million is being provided to Legal Aid Alberta, which administers the province’s legal aid program, to cover its operations and ensure the continuation of services for Albertans. This increase brings the total provincial funding for 2016-2017 to $77.9 million. Since May 2015, the provincial government has increased legal aid funding by 20 per cent.
“It’s clear that our justice system is under significant pressure and these steps are needed to improve access to justice for Albertans. By focusing our resources, our aim is to have more cases heard in a reasonable amount of time.”
The Alberta Crown Prosecution Service is also implementing new measures in response to the Supreme Court of Canada’s R V Jordan. For more information, click here.
- Positions for both the Court of Queen’s Bench and Court of Appeal can be created by order of the lieutenant governor in council.
- Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and Court of Appeal judicial numbers and vacancies as of Oct. 20, 2016 (includes Chief Justice and Associate Chief Justice positions):
Court of Queen’s Bench
Court of Appeal
|As per provincial legislation||77 (includes three previously created positions and nine new positions that have not yet been approved and funded by the federal government)||15|
|As per provincial legislation||18||3|
|Federally funded positions||6||2|