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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:
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.