The Supreme Court of Yukon is the highest trial court in the territory, with broad jurisdiction to try a wide range of civil and serious criminal matters. The Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction to hold jury trials and murder cases. It also hears appeals from certain criminal trials and regulatory matters, known as summary conviction appeals. The Supreme Court also acts as an appeal court for various statutory tribunals and can, in certain circumstances, judicially review the decisions of administrative tribunals. In family matters, the Supreme Court of Yukon has authority to make custody and support orders, to divide matrimonial property, and to grant divorces.
The Court is currently made up of two resident judges, the Senior Judge, Mr. Justice Ronald S. Veale and Mr. Justice Leigh F. Gower. The Court is also composed of nine judges from the Northwest Territories and Nunavut and 44 deputy judges appointed from across Canada. A deputy judge or a judge from another northern territory may be called upon from time to time where conflicts of interest arise with the resident judges or to resolve scheduling problems.
Upon appointment, the Judges of the Supreme Court of Yukon are also ex officio members of the Court of Appeal for Yukon, the Northwest Territories Court of Appeal and the Nunavut Court of Appeal and can be called upon to act as appellate judges in any of those courts.
The Supreme Court sits regularly in Whitehorse and in other Yukon communities, as required. It is generally open to the public. Access to certain files, such as family law matters, may be restricted by court policy.
The Rules of Court were effective September 15, 2008, and govern all proceedings whenever commenced. The Court also issues practice directions from time to time on matters of procedure and court conduct.