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Federal Court / Federal Court of Appeal

The Federal Court of Canada was established in 1971 as the successor to the Exchequer Court of Canada which had been created in 1875.

A major reason for the new Court's creation was the increase in the number of federal boards and commissions and the realization that a national court was needed to review the decisions of the administrative tribunals. Speaking in the House of Commons when the legislation to create the new Court was being debated, Justice Minister Turner stated that the Federal Court would serve to balance the rights of the citizen and the state by providing recourse against bigness, alienation and distance from the decision-making power.

The Federal Court Act was amended by the Courts Administration Service Act, which came into force on July 2, 2003. The two divisions of the Federal Court became a separate court of appeal, continued under the name "Federal Court of Appeal", and a trial court, continued under the name "Federal Court". The short title of the Act is now the Federal Courts Act. To reflect these legislative changes, the Federal Court Reports, the official reports of the two courts was continued under the name "Federal Courts Reports" commencing with 2004, Volume 1. At the same time, the citation was changed to "F.C.R." to avoid confusion with the new neutral citation used by the Federal Court.

The jurisdiction of the Federal Court extends not only to judicial review but also to: actions by and against the Crown, admiralty, customs, labour relations, intellectual property law (patents, copyright, trade–marks and industrial designs), and citizenship and immigration. The Federal Court of Appeal hears appeals from the Federal Court and the Tax Court of Canada, and has jurisdiction to determine applications for judicial review from federal boards, commissions and tribunals listed in Federal Courts Act, section 28.

Federal Courts Reports

Editor

The Federal Courts Reports are the official reports of the decisions of the Federal Court of Appeal and of the Federal Court. They are published under section 58 of the Federal Courts Act, which provides that the Minister of Justice shall appoint or designate a person to be editor of the Reports. Pursuant to that section, only the decisions or the parts of them that, in the editor's opinion, are of sufficient significance or importance to warrant publication in the Reports shall be included therein.

Selected decisions are published in both official languages (in a side by side format) and undergo a thorough editorial process. This process includes copy editing and citation verification, the preparation of headnotes and captions, and translation accuracy confirmation.

Advisory Committee

Section 58 further provides that the Minister "may appoint a committee of not more than five persons to advise the editor". Such an advisory committee was established late in 1999. The current members of this committee are: Suzanne Thibaudeau, Q.C., of Montreal; and Toronto lawyer Lorne Waldman of Waldman & Associates. The Editor may call upon these prominent practitioners for an opinion to assist in the selection process in respect of cases which fall within their particular area of expertise.

Federal Courts Reports Web Site

Decisions of the Federal Court of Appeal and of the Federal Court appearing in the official reports series either in full text or as digests are available free of charge on the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs Canada's Web site.  The online collection goes back to 1993. Full volumes in PDF format going back to 2007 are also available.