Ariya Sheivari (Ottawa Courthouse)


The Main Room (Courtroom 37) – Ottawa Courthouse and Land Registry Offices

The main room (courtroom 37) is the largest courtroom in the Ottawa Courthouse. It is a replication of what used to be in the former Carleton County Courthouse. It has a distinct and beautiful old décor, owing to the same entrance door, seats, lighting, and etc that were once used in the old Courthouse. This room is used mostly for Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) proceedings, but also sometimes for Provincial Court of Justice (OCJ) proceedings. As such, it is a good example of the constitutional significance of Canadian federalism as related to the courts structure and judicial appointment.

Under s. 92(14) of Constitution Act (CA) 1867, provinces have the power to establish provincial courts. In Ontario, provincial courts include the SCJ and the OCJ. SCJ judges are federally appointed pursuant to ss. 96-100 of CA 1867. By contrast, OCJ judges are provincially appointed. The significance of this incongruity of federal appointment to provincial courts reflects efforts by the framers of CA 1867 to maintain federal control over a key source of patronage. This included fear of provincial appointment producing a bench filled with judges who would excite the contempt, instead of commending the respect of those practicing before them.* The significance of the Canadian federalist structure is evident in judicial appointment to the two levels of provincial courts. The main room, as used for proceedings of both courts, nicely highlights the distinction.

GPS Coordinates: 45.4206° N, 75.6915° W

This content has been updated on 19 November 2016 at 15 h 48 min.