The Court consists of 32 full-time judges and a number of supernumerary judges, all appointed by the federal government under s.96 of the Constitution Act, 1867 and paid by the federal government under s.100. The province is divided into twelve "judicial centres," corresponding to the former District Court which as in other provinces has been abolished and its judges promoted to justices of the Queen's Bench.
The court has a Family Law Division, which presides in the judicial centres of Saskatoon, Regina, and Prince Albert. Its chief justice, currently the Honourable R.D. Laing, is styled the Chief Justice of the Queens Bench; both the chief justice and puisne justices are addressed as "My Lord" or "My Lady" and referred to as "His Lordship" or "Her Ladyship," unlike in the Provincial Court, whose judges are "Your Honour" and "His Honour" or "Her Honour." (The Provincial Court, also as in other provinces, replaces the former Magistrate's or Police Court, whose presidents were originally stipendiary magistrates, first non-lawyers and addressed as "mister," and later "judges of the magistrate's court" and addressed as "your honour.")
It was established in 1918 when Court of Appeal Act (Sask.) and the King’s Bench Act (Sask.) abolished the Supreme Court of Saskatchewan (which itself had succeeded the Supreme Court of the North-West Territories) and created both the Saskatchewan Court of King’s Bench and the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal. Previously appeals had been heard by a "full court" of the Supreme Court, that is, an ad hoc appellate bench drawn from among the justices of the Supreme Court, a system still in place in overseas jurisdictions such as Victoria, Australia and Papua New Guinea. Historically simply by virtue of the nature of Saskatchewan's economy largely a court of criminal litigation with occasional ancillary issues of constitutional jurisprudence also arising, with rising economic development in the province it may be expected that in future the Court will come to deliberate over increased commercial litigation.
As in other provinces, the former District Court was abolished in the 1980s and its judges elevated to justices of the Queen's Bench (and the mode of address "Your Honour" accordingly replaced with "My Lord" and "My Lady"), with judicial centres of the Queen's Bench throughout the province replacing the former district courts.
In tort action by English celebrity magazine who had contracted for exclusive rights to photographs of private New York wedding between Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones against similar magazine who bought unauthorized freelancer's surreptitious photos of same wedding, House of Lords, by 3 to 2 vote, upheld substantial damage award given by Queens Bench.
Jun 01, 2007; By leave of three members of the House of Lords granted on July 28, 2005, the third Plaintiff, Northern & Shell plc (NAS),...