|HISTORY/BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: ||Dates of founding and/or dissolution:|
The Judicial District of Macleod was established on October 1, 1906 by Order-in-Council (O.C.) 516/06. The District was dissolved on January 1, 1995 by Alberta Regulation (AR) 361/94.
The Judicial District of Macleod is a geographic area in southern Alberta that served two functions: the adjudication of cases through the province’s court system and the registration of documents.
The function of the courts within the judicial district was to hear and pass judgment on criminal and civil cases. Criminal offenses included arson, assault, blackmail, extortion, fraud, kidnapping, liquor infractions, manslaughter, murder, perjury, prostitution, public drunkenness, robbery, sexual assault, theft, treason, vandalism, and vagrancy. Civil matters included the administration of deceased person’s estates, contract disputes, foreclosures, probate of wills, property disputes, and small claims disputes over debts.
The courts holding jurisdiction in this judicial district have included the District Court (1880-1884), the High Court of Justice (1884-1887), the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories (1887-1907), Supreme Court of Alberta (1907-1919), the District Court of Alberta (1906-1979), the Trial Division of the Supreme Court of Alberta (1919-1979), the Provincial Court of Alberta (1971-1994), and the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench (1979-1994).
The District also functioned as a registration district for documents pertaining to bankruptcies, chattel mortgages (i.e., claims against possessions), liens (i.e., claims against real estate), and partnerships. This function ended in 1967 when the registration districts were consolidated into a Central Registry by the Chattel Securities Registry Act (S.A. 1966, c. 12).
Predecessor and successor bodies:
Prior to October 1, 1906, civil and criminal matters in this region were heard in the Macleod Division of the Judicial District of Southern Alberta, a district created in the Northwest Territories by the federal government in 1887. After 1994, matters in this region were heard in the Judicial District of Lethbridge.
Following the hierarchy of court system, the decisions made during court proceedings in this judicial district can be appealed to a higher court. At the time of the District’s creation, the judgment of a local magistrate or justice of the peace could be appealed to a judge of the District Court, and then to judges of the Supreme Court of Alberta, followed by judges of the Supreme Court of Canada, concluding with the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England. Currently, appeals from judgments of the Provincial Court are heard by the Court of Queen’s Bench, followed by the Alberta Court of Appeal, and conclude with the Supreme Court of Canada.
The Government of Alberta appoints justices of the peace and the judges of the Provincial Court of Alberta (previously known as magistrates), while the Government of Canada appoints the judges of all higher courts within the province.
Although the courts are not part of the Government of Alberta, the Court Services Division of Alberta Justice and Attorney-General employs the personnel who schedule trials and hearings, receive documents, create and maintain case files, and provide courtroom security within the judicial district.
The boundaries of the Judicial District of Macleod were altered since its initial creation as a result of changes in other judicial districts. Its territory was enlarged in 1914 when its eastern border with the Judicial District of Lethbridge was revised.
During the existence of this District, the towns and villages found within it have included Blairmore, Claresholm, Coleman, Crowsnest Pass, Fort Macleod, Frank, Hillcrest, Nanton and Pincher Creek.
Since 1906, several judicial officials have presided over the courts within the District, including magistrates, who became the judges of the new Provincial Court of Alberta in 1971; judges of the District Court, judges of the Supreme Court, judges of the Trial Division of the Supreme Court; and judges of the Court of Queen’s Bench. Justices of the peace also held limited powers to hear and judge legal matters within this district.
Other officials supporting the operations of the courts include clerks, deputy clerks, sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, court reporters, and process issuers (servers). Clerks receive and file documents submitted to and produced by the court and keep financial accounts. Court reporters create transcripts of court proceedings. Between 1906 and 1994, sheriffs and deputy sheriffs carried out the orders of the courts, such as property seizures, served legal documents on parties to court cases, and provided courtroom security.