Ontario Superior Court
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Ontario Superior Court
Superior Court of Justice
Cour supérieure de justice (French)
Composition methodappointed by the federal government
Authorized byinherent jurisdiction at common law[1]
Appeals toCourt of Appeal for Ontario
Judge term lengthmandatory retirement by age of 75
Number of positionsover 300[2]
Chief Justice
CurrentlyGeoffrey B. Morawetz
Associate Chief Justice
CurrentlyFrank Marrocco

The Superior Court of Justice (French: Cour supérieure de justice) is a superior court in Ontario. The Court sits in 52 locations across the province, including 17 Family Court locations, and consists of over 300 federally appointed judges.[1]

In 1999, the Superior Court of Justice was renamed from the Ontario Court (General Division). The Superior Court is one of two divisions of the Court of Ontario. The other division is the lower court, the Ontario Court of Justice.[1] The Superior Court has three specialized branches: Divisional Court, Small Claims Court, and Family Court.

The Superior Court has inherent jurisdiction over civil, criminal, and family law matters at common law.[1][5] Although the Court has inherent jurisdiction, the authority of the Court has been entrenched in the Canadian Constitution.[6]


The Superior Court of Justice has three branches:

Divisional Court

The Divisional Court hears appeals from some judgments and orders of judges of the Superior Court of Justice and reviews or hears appeals from decisions of administrative tribunals. It hears all appeals from a final order of the Superior Court where the award does not exceed $50,000.00. The Divisional Court also hears appeals from Small Claims Court judgments exceeding $2,500.00 (there is no statutory right of appeal from a Small Claims Court judgment of less than $2,500.00). The Divisional Court consists of the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice, who is president of the court, and such other judges of the Superior Court as the Chief Justice designates from time to time. Hearings take place before a panel of three judges except in the case of appeals from the Small Claims Court which take place before a single judge. The Divisional Court is a descendant of the court of the same name in England, which is part of the Queen's Bench division of the English High Court of Justice, and hears certain appeals.

Small Claims Court

The Small Claims Court has jurisdiction in civil matters where the amount in issue does not exceed $25,000 ($35,000.00 as of January 1, 2020) per party see Lock v. Waterloo (Regional Municipality), 2011 CarswellOnt 15974 exclusive of interest and costs. The monetary jurisdiction of this court is fixed by regulation, rising to the current limit from $10,000 on January 1, 2010. The majority of Small Claims Court matters are heard by deputy judges, lawyers who have been appointed for a period of three years by the Regional Senior Justice to hear such cases. As result of court reform, no new full-time judges have been appointed by the provincial government to preside in Small Claims Court. Proceedings in the Small Claims Court are governed by a codified set of rules contained in O. Reg. 258/98 (as amended), the Rules of the Small Claims Court, instead of the complex Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure.

Family Court

In those areas of Ontario where the Family Court branch of the Superior Court of Justice does not exist, jurisdiction over family law disputes is divided between the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice. Cases which have divorce or property claims are brought exclusively in the Superior Court, and child protection and adoption cases must be commenced solely in the Ontario Court of Justice. Each of these two courts has jurisdiction over child and spousal support, as well as custody and access claims.

In those places where the Family Court branch of the Superior Court of Justice has been established, there is no divided jurisdiction in family law matters. The Family Court succeeds what was known as the Unified Family Court, which began as a pilot project in Hamilton, in 1977. It has complete jurisdiction over all family law matters in its area, including those matters currently within the jurisdiction of judges of the Provincial Division and the General Division. The Family Court is presided over by a Senior Judge of the Superior Court for the Family Court. The Family Court consists of the Chief Justice of the Superior Court, the Associate Chief Justice (Family Court) the Senior Judge of the Family Court, and any other Superior Court Judge as assigned by the Chief Justice or designate.

Administrative structure

The Superior Court consists of the Chief Justice of the Superior Court, the Associate Chief Justice of the Superior Court, eight Regional Senior Judges, the Senior Judge of the Family Court, and a total of 218 federally appointed judges. [7] In addition, there are a number of supernumerary judges appointed as required from time to time.

The Chief Justice is responsible for the sittings of the Court and assigning judicial duties, as well as other matters relating to the governance and administration of the Court. The Associate Chief Justice, eight Regional Senior Judges, and the Senior Judge of the Family Court form the Executive of the Court, which provides advice to the Chief Justice on policy and governance. Together, the Chief Justice and the members of the Executive work to ensure the proper administration of the Court.

Ontario is divided into eight regions for judicial administration. Each region is headed by a Regional Senior judge who exercises the powers and performs the duties of the Chief justice in that region.[8]

There are also provincially appointed judicial officers who exercise certain functions in the superior court. These include masters, assessment officers and registrars.

Case Management Masters are provincially appointed judicial officers with the authority to hear and determine certain matters in civil cases, including motions, pre-trials, and case conferences. Masters and case management masters also adjudicate construction lien trials, mortgage and general references, provide dispute resolution services, and serve as registrars in bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.[9]

Orders made by masters have the same force and effect as judges' orders although they may be appealed to a judge. Masters are appointed and paid by the provincial government. Masters have existed in the courts of Ontario since 1837.


Central East Region Central South Region Central West Region East Region



Hamilton Family Court
St. Catharines


Owen Sound


Kingston Family Court

Northeast Region Northwest Region Southwest Region Toronto Region

Gore Bay
North Bay
Parry Sound
Sault Ste. Marie

Fort Frances

Thunder Bay


St. Thomas

Notable past judges

  • Archie Campbell 1996-2007
  • Patrick LeSage 1999-2002 as Chief Justice
  • Sarah E. Pepall (1999 to 2012) - appointed to Ontario Court of Appeal[11]
  • David H. Doherty (1988 to 1990)
  • Edward W. Ducharme (2002 to 2012), appointed to Ontario Court of Appeal[11]
  • Alexandra Hoy (2002 to 2011), appointed to Ontario Court of Appeal[12]
  • Mary Lou Benotto (2001 to 2013), appointed to Ontario Court of Appeal [1][13]


  1. ^ a b c d "History of the Court". Ontario Courts. Judges Library. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ "About the Superior Court". Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ "Prime Minister announces two appointments to superior courts of Ontario and Quebec". Prime Minister of Canada. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ "Ontario Judicial Appointments Announced". 2 November 2005. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ "Jurisdiction of the Courts". Ontario Courts. Judges Library. Retrieved 2017.
  6. ^ Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act, 1982 (UK), 1982, c. 11, ss. 96-101.
  8. ^ "About the Superior Court". Ontario Courts. Judges Library. Retrieved 2017.
  9. ^ "About Judges and Judicial Officers". Ontario Courts. Judges Library. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ "Judicial Regions and Regional Court Schedules". Superior Court of Justice.
  11. ^ a b "Ontario Judicial Appointments Announced". Department of Justice (Canada). April 10, 2012. Retrieved 2018.
  12. ^ "Ontario Judicial Appointments Announced". Department of Justice (Canada). December 2, 2011. Archived from the original on February 1, 2012. Retrieved 2018.
  13. ^ "Ontario Judicial Appointments Announced". Department of Justice (Canada). January 31, 2014. Retrieved 2018.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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