REALWorld Law


Dispute resolution in the courts

Which courts specialize or deal with construction disputes? Can decisions be appealed?



Generally, construction disputes are heard in the Supreme Court or equivalent of the province or territory where the project is located.  Canadian “Supreme” or “Superior” Courts (referred to as “King’s Bench” in some provinces) are cloaked with both legal and equitable jurisdiction.  So, unlike some jurisdictions in the United States, there is no separate equity or chancery court, for equitable relief such as an injunction or specific performance.

A relatively small number of construction disputes can also be heard in Canada’s federal court if the resulting claim arises from the provision of goods or services to the federal government.

Final decisions of these courts generally can be appealed to intermediary court of appeals.  Any appeals thereafter to Canada’s highest court, the Supreme Court of Canada, are generally at the discretion of the Supreme Court of Canada, particularly for construction cases which may not be considered to be of sufficient national importance -- the threshold test for the exercise of the Supreme Court of Canada’s discretion.