General Division

"*** NEW *** As part of a review of the Trial Division’s procedural rules, we are seeking input from persons who have represented themselves in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Trial Division of the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court is looking for your help. We are currently reviewing the Rules of Court to make them more user-friendly without the help of a lawyer. We also hope to make our processes more effective, clear, and easy to understand.

We want to know about your experience and about any ideas you might have for improvement, so we can make things easier for other self-represented litigants in the future. To complete our questionnaire, please go to the link below:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SB68J7X

Please remember: We can only change our procedural rules. We cannot change the actual laws that impacted the outcome of your case. A full copy of the current Rules is available for free online at:
http://www.assembly.nl.ca/legislation/sr/regulations/rc86rules.htm

If you have any questions on how to fill out this questionnaire, call the Legal Officer at (709) 729-4743.

We will keep your answers and participation in this survey confidential.

General Division

The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador is the province’s superior trial court. The General Division of the Supreme Court has the authority to hear a wide range of cases including:

Civil cases

The Court has jurisdiction over all civil matters (for example, lawsuits in contract, accident cases, commercial lawsuits, etc). There is no monetary limit on the claims which can be heard in Supreme Court. However, generally cases involving $25,000 or less are brought to Small Claims Court in the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Family cases

Family law matters involving divorce, division of matrimonial property, claims for spousal/partner support, claims for child support, custody and access of children, can be dealt with in the General Division.

However, if you live in a “judicial area” where the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Family Division operates exclusively (East Coast and West Coast), you must apply to Family Division for family law cases. See the “Judicial Areas” section in the “Family Law Courts in NL" section of this website to see geographical descriptions. The Family Division deals with the same family matters as General Division, but also handles child protection cases and adoptions.

Criminal cases

Criminal matters involving serious criminal charges are often heard in Supreme Court General Division. All jury trials are held in Supreme Court, although some criminal cases will be heard before a judge-alone.

Estates

Probate and Administration cases are heard in the Supreme Court, General Division. These are matters involving the distribution of an estate after someone passes away.

Guardianship cases

The Supreme Court, General Division can appoint a guardian to make decisions for those who, for a variety of reasons, need help to make decisions about their personal or financial affairs. The person for whom a guardian is appointed may be under the age of majority (19 years old in this province) or suffer from a mental disability.

Appeals

The Supreme Court, General Division hears appeals from Provincial Court summary criminal matters, family matters and small claims. The Supreme Court, General Division also hears applications for review of decisions from certain administrative tribunals, such as the Residential Tenancies Board, and many professional disciplinary bodies. However, because not all appeals from decisions of the Provincial Court and administrative tribunals are made to the Supreme Court, General Division, it is important to check the applicable legislation.