Chief Justice of Queen's Bench pitches court merger
Justice David Smith says merger with provincial court would save money and improve efficiency
The Chief Justice New Brunswick's Court of Queen's Bench is calling for a merger of the provincial court and Court of Queen's Bench.
"Streamline the system," said Smith, who spoke about the idea to the Moncton Rotary Club on Monday. "It'll create some efficiencies, like scheduling. Right now, it's done by two sets of judges - the Queen's Bench and the provincial court. Everybody will be in the Queen's Bench."
Smith says there is a precedent for merging the two levels of court. He said family law used to be split between the two courts and the delays were horrendous, but now that family law is handled in the Queen's Bench court, the system is more efficient.
Smith said no other province has merged the two levels of court, but New Brunswick did study the idea.
"At one time the provincial government looked at it, in I think it was 1990," said Smith. "There was a study done. It went to the federal minister of justice and I don't know what happened at that time."
Smith expects lawyers and the province will want to study the idea of a merger of the courts.