News Release Archive

Justice Minister Bill Gillis today introduced the Court Structure
and Administrative Reform Act.

The act addresses the changes made necessary as a result of court
restructuring and those required as a result of operational
changes made at the Department of Justice. As well, there are
administrative reforms designed to reduce the number of minor
matters that must go before Cabinet.

In March 1995, the minister outlined the restructuring program
for Nova Scotia's courts and Department of Justice offices. The
program is designed to provide more effective, efficient service
delivery, and establishes 11 justice centres throughout the
province. Each justice centre contains offices and staff that
will serve all levels of court.

As a result of this reorganization, several pieces of legislation
must be amended recognizing the establishment of the Justice
Centres. For example, the Juries Act must be amended to ensure
there is a jury district for each justice centre.

The act also repeals provisions no longer relevant or necessary
as a result of the reorganization. In coordinating the delivery
of services, changes are needed to allow staff to handle
workloads without the requirement of additional personnel. The
objective is to ensure that court staff are not restricted to the
performance of single functions in only one office. Amendments to
several pieces of legislation will facilitate this process. As a
result, the Sheriffs Act, Prothonotaries and Clerks of the Crown
Act, and Court Reporters Act have been repealed.

The act also contains several changes designed to consolidate and
bring into effect a number of reforms that government has been
working toward. It will also clarify the existing legislation.

Three provisions are aimed at administrative reforms and the
enforcement of orders of government appointed tribunals. They are
designed to reduce the number of minor matters that must be dealt
with by Cabinet. The provisions allow Cabinet to delegate
authority to a minister to acquire or dispose of land interests
or to make minor appointments.

Regulations would be required setting the guidelines for the
approval of land transactions. Any transactions falling outside
of the guidelines would require Cabinet approval. The regulations
would also contain provision for public notice so that the
transactions are open to public scrunity. Another provision
allows Cabinet to delegate the power to the minister to make
minor appointments, if Cabinet considers the delegation to be

The act allows Cabinet to delegate the power to a minister to
make appointments under the Fatality Inquiries Act (except the
chief medical examiner) the Notaries and Commissioners Act, the
Solemnization of Marriage Act or the Vital Statistics Act. This
would include appointments such as commissioner of oaths,
registrars of births, deaths, those that issue marriage licenses,
and local medical examiners.

Finally, there is a provision designed to give strength to orders
issued by public tribunals which do not currently have
enforcement provisions. This provision will allow for the making
of regulations ensuring that an order of a board or tribunal may
be filed and enforced as an order of the Supreme Court.

"This is really a housekeeping bill that allows us to increase
operational efficiency on many fronts," said Dr. Gillis. "We have
made a number of changes that improve the way we use our
resources, and this legislation helps us to ensure a high level
of service is maintained to Nova Scotians."


NOTE TO EDITORS: Backgrounder available by calling 902-424-4492
or 1-800-670-4357 (toll free).

Contact: Michele McKinnon  902-424-6811

trp                      Apr. 02, 1996 - 2:15 p.m.