Lesson 10: Problem-Solving Courts

Topic 4: Circuit Courts

Circuit courts are courts that travel around, typically to areas with lower populations that do not have enough people to have their own courthouses. The Provincial Court of BC and the Supreme Court of BC are circuit courts because their judges travel to different locations in the province to hear cases.

Another example of a circuit court is the Nunavut Court of Justice. It was established in 1999 as a new kind of court in Canada. The Nunavut Court of Justice combines the power of the Supreme Court and the territorial courts (similar to provincial courts) so that the same judge can hear all cases that arise in small isolated communities as well as hear regular court cases in the capital of Iqaluit.

The courts travel to the small communities “on circuit” of intervals of six weeks to two years depending on the number of cases. These circuit courts include a judge, clerk, court reporter, prosecutor and at least one defence lawyer. Court workers and Crown witness coordinators may travel with the circuit court, depending on the cases. Interpreters will also be hired for some of the cases.