What is the difference between Provincial Court and Court of Queen's Bench?

Provincial Court is the court of first appearance for individuals charged with Criminal Code offences. This is the level at which it is determined if charges will go to the Court of Queen's Bench. It also hears some family and youth matters and civil claims where the amount does not exceed $50,000. Provincial Court trials are heard by judge alone. The provincial government appoints Provincial Court judges.

The Court of Queen's Bench is the higher court of criminal and civil jurisdiction in Alberta. It holds trials by judge alone and jury trials for criminal and civil matters, although few civil jury trials are held. It also handles matters such as divorces, adoptions, foreclosures and bankruptcies in addition to matters relating to wills and estates. Applications under the Dependent Adults Act are also made in the Court of Queen's Bench. The federal government appoints justices to the Court of Queen's Bench.

Most proceedings under the Family Law Act can be heard in either the Provincial Court or the Court of Queen's Bench.

The Court of Appeal is the highest court in Alberta. It hears serious civil and criminal appeals.

Visit the Alberta Courts website for additional information.