What is the court system in Ontario?

The Court of Ontario has two divisions:

Superior Court of Justice

The Superior Court of Justice is a higher court and hears more serious cases, such as:

Ontario Court of Justice

The Ontario Court of Justice hears cases such as:

  • Criminal offences except the most serious offences
  • Pre-trial hearings (preliminary hearings) in criminal cases that will go to the Superior Court
  • Violations of provincial laws

Within these two divisions, there are specialized branches. For example, Family Court and Small Claims Court are both branches of the Superior Court of Justice.

If your court decision or ruling is questioned, that case can go to appeal. Many appeals are heard by the Court of Appeal for Ontario. This court is separate from other Ontario courts and usually provides the final ruling on a legal issue. An appeal on this ruling goes to the Supreme Court of Canada, the highest court in the country.

For More Information

  • Guide to the Ontario Courts - This guide links to the home pages of the Ontario Court of Justice, the Superior Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal. Contact information for Ontario's courts and to the Ontario Judicial Council are also provided.
  • LawFacts.ca - This website has information about going to criminal court in Ontario. It covers many topics and you can download forms and checklists. From Legal Aid Ontario.
  • Court Addresses and Hours - Get addresses, hours and contact information for Ontario courts .
  • Court Services - Learn more about the many different courts in Ontario and get answers to frequently-asked-questions.
  • Do You Have a Complaint? - Describes how to file a complaint against a provincial judge or justice of the peace. It also has information on professional conduct standards and the roles of these officials in Ontario's justice system.
  • Structure of the Courts - An overview of the court system in Canada and the jurisdiction at each level. From the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association.
  • CourtPrep.ca – This youth focused website includes a visual interactive court scene that can help people to anticipate what court proceedings look like.  There is also information about the justice process and tips for witnesses.  From the Sexual Assault Centre, Scarborough Hospital and the Toronto Child Abuse Centre.
Last updated: October 28, 2015 4000350