Role and Mandate
The Courts Administration Service was established on July 2, 2003 by the Courts Administration Service Act, S.C. 2002, c. 8 . This legislation consolidated the former registries of the Federal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada. The establishment of the Courts Administration Service has its roots in the 1997 Auditor General's Report entitled, Report on the Federal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada, which concluded that consolidating the registries of the Federal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada would result in significant savings and would facilitate improved planning and the efficient use of resources at those courts. This consolidation has resulted in an organization of approximately 600 Full Time Equivalents with its Main Estimates in the amount of $54.3 million.
The role of the Courts Administration Service is to provide administrative services to four courts of law: the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada. These services permit individuals, companies, organizations and the Government of Canada to submit disputes and other matters to the courts, and enable the courts to hear and resolve the cases before them fairly, without delay and as efficiently as possible.
As stated in section 2 of the Courts Administration Service Act, the Courts Administration Service was established to:
facilitate coordination and cooperation among the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court [of Canada] and the Tax Court of Canada for the purpose of ensuring the effective and efficient provision of administrative services to those courts;
enhance judicial independence by placing administrative services at arm's length from the Government of Canada and by affirming the roles of chief justices and judges in the management of the courts; and
enhance accountability for the use of public money in support of court administration while safeguarding the independence of the judiciary.
The Courts Administration Service is responsible for meeting the courts' requirements and ensuring public access to the courts and to their records. The following are a few examples of specific functions carried out by the Courts Administration Service:
providing litigants and their counsel with services relating to court hearings;
informing litigants on rules of practice, court directives and procedures;
maintaining court records;
processing documents filed by or issued to litigants, and recording all proceedings;
serving as a depository to allow for the enforcement of decisions made by the courts and federal administrative tribunals, such as the Canada Industrial Relations Board and Canadian Human Rights Tribunal;
providing judges, prothonotaries and staff with a wide array of direct support services, including library services; and
providing judges, prothonotaries and staff with appropriate facilities and security.
To facilitate accessibility, the Courts Administration Service has offices in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. In addition, registry services and courtrooms are provided through agreements with Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon Territory.
The four courts served by the Courts Administration Service are superior courts of record. They were established by the Parliament of Canada pursuant to its authority under section 101 of the Constitution Act, 1867 to establish courts "for the better Administration of the Laws of Canada".
The Chief Administrator, or deputy head, is responsible for providing services to the four courts. Subsections 7(1), (2), (3) and (4) of the Courts Administration Service Act set out the powers, duties and functions of the Chief Administrator as follows:
The Chief Administrator is the chief executive officer of the [Courts Administration] Service and has supervision over and direction of its work and staff.
The Chief Administrator has all the powers necessary for the overall effective and efficient management and administration of all court services, including court facilities and libraries and corporate services and staffing.
The Chief Administrator, in consultation with the Chief Justices of the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court [of Canada] and the Tax Court of Canada, shall establish and maintain the registry or registries for those courts in any organizational form or forms and prepare budgetary submissions for the requirements of those courts and for the related needs of the [Courts Administration] Service.
The powers of the Chief Administrator do not extend to any matter assigned by law to the judiciary.
Subsection 9(1) adds the following:
A chief justice may issue binding directions in writing to the Chief Administrator with respect to any matter within the Chief Administrator's authority.
Since July 2, 2003, this relatively new organization - the Courts Administration Service - has been undergoing a transitional period to consolidate or integrate the former organizational entities into a new structure in the most effective and efficient manner.
- Date modified: