The Territorial Court deals with most adult criminal prosecutions under the Criminal Code and other federal statutes. The Territorial Court also hears all young offender matters and prosecutions under territorial laws. It deals with first appearances, bail hearings, receiving pleas of guilty and not guilty, trials and sentencings, in both summary conviction and indictable matters, and conducts preliminary inquiries.
The Territorial Court also has exclusive jurisdiction over child protection matters under the Child and Family Services Act. It has limited jurisdiction over family matters. The Court does not deal with divorce, custody or adoption. The civil jurisdiction of the Territorial Court is limited to $25,000 in Small Claims Court.
The Territorial Court consists of three full-time judges and approximately 12 deputy judges who are full-time or retired judges from other jurisdictions. While the Court sits permanently in Whitehorse, it also provides services to 14 other communities on a regular basis. Court information can be obtained from three permanent court registries located in Whitehorse, Dawson City and Watson Lake.
The Justice of the Peace Court is part of the Territorial Court and consists of one full-time judicial officer based in Whitehorse and 40 part-time Justices, most of whom are located in the communities. Justices of the Peace are not lawyers, but they provide a range of valuable legal services depending on their training and authorization. Justices of the Peace may receive and swear informations, issue search warrants, deal with adjournment applications in court, receive pleas, and conduct sentencing hearings under territorial legislation and in summary conviction matters under federal legislation. They also hear matters in Youth Court and in child protection cases.
Registry hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Whitehorse, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Watson Lake and Dawson City.