A Progression of Judges: A History of the Supreme Court of British Columbia

By David R. Verchere | Go to book overview

THIRTEEN
A Court of Appeal and a World War

On 30 September 1909, the Court of Appeal Act 1907 was proclaimed. It was a momentous day for the Supreme Court because by that act all the jurisdiction and powers of the full court, both civil and criminal, became vested in a new court. No change was made to its name, but the Supreme Court of British Columbia ceased from then on to be supreme except in matters partly heard or awaiting judgment.

The Law Society had for years past been one of the main supporters of legislation for a new court. With that step achieved in 1907, it turned its considerable influence to the proclamation of the act. At a special meeting of the benchers held on 7 November 1908 at the request of Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper, K.C., and with C. E. Corbould, K.C., acting as chairman, it was unanimously resolved that "in the opinion of the Benchers, owing to the congested state of business in the Supreme Court and the improbability of relief being obtained from any other source, the time has come for bringing into operation the Act passed at the 1907 Session of the Legislature, entitled The Court of Appeal Act, 1907." 1 A copy of the resolution was forwarded to the attorney-general, and less than a month later the act was proclaimed; in one sense, it had been born in conflict, both judicial and alcoholic.

There were, of course, objections. Many people considered that the expense of a new superior court with a chief justice and three, or perhaps four, member justices was wholly unjustified. It was pointed out that in the five and one-half years just past, the full court had actually sat only

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