Fonds - Supreme Court of Nova Scotia fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Supreme Court of Nova Scotia fonds

General material designation

    Parallel title

    Other title information

    Title statements of responsibility

    Title notes

    Level of description


    Reference code

    Edition area

    Edition statement

    Edition statement of responsibility

    Class of material specific details area

    Statement of scale (cartographic)

    Statement of projection (cartographic)

    Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

    Statement of scale (architectural)

    Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

    Dates of creation area


    Physical description area

    Physical description

    300 m of textual records

    Publisher's series area

    Title proper of publisher's series

    Parallel titles of publisher's series

    Other title information of publisher's series

    Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

    Numbering within publisher's series

    Note on publisher's series

    Archival description area

    Name of creator


    Administrative history

    The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia has its origins in the powers given to Governor Edward Cornwallis in the Commission and Royal Instructions issued in London on 6 May 1749. By that instrument, the governor was given plenary powers in judicial matters to establish courts of justice. In 1750, Cornwallis established the General Court, consisting of the Governor and Council. In 1754, the General Court was replaced by the Supreme Court, with Jonathan Belcher appointed first chief justice. During its first two decades the Supreme Court operated only at Halifax. However, between 1774 and 1816 a circuit system was established throughout the province, with individual circuit courts having all the powers of the court at Halifax. The Supreme Court began as a criminal court but soon assumed a civil jurisdiction as well. Its jurisdiction has continued to evolve over its long and complex history. The Supreme Court's procedure was codified with the passage of the Judicature Act in 1884. When acting as a court of original jurisdiction, one judge presided; as an appellate court, cases were heard by the full court sitting at Halifax. Amendments enacted in 1962, and effective in 1966, replaced this arrangement with a formally constituted Appeal Division of the Supreme Court, separated from the Trial Division, which was set up at the same time. In 1992 the Court Reform Act reconstituted the Appeal Division as a separate court - the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.

    Custodial history

    Scope and content

    Fonds consists of: Sous-fonds - Supreme Court at Halifax, Sous-fonds - Supreme Court on county circuit

    Notes area

    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition


    Court records were among the first records received by the Public Archives after the building opened in 1931. Early efforts to describe the Supreme Court records used the county as the basis of arrangement and description without recognizing the various seats of the Court as all being part of the same judicial body. The 250th anniversary of the Court in 2004 provided an opportunity to renew the arrangement and description of these records. Although all of the records of the Supreme Court are now arranged as a single fonds, the previous arrangement is still reflected in the designation of three sous-fonds, comprising the records of the Court at Halifax, the records of the Court on County Circuit, and the records of the Court as a court of appeal.

    Language of material

      Script of material

        Location of originals

        Availability of other formats

        Restrictions on access

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

        Finding aids

        Sous fonds descriptions available.

        Associated materials

        The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal fonds continues the records related to the Court's jurisdiction as Nova Scotia's highest court of appeal, except for those cases heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.

        Related materials


        Further accruals expected.

        Alternative identifier(s)

        Standard number

        Standard number

        Access points

        Subject access points

        Place access points

        Name access points

        Genre access points

        Control area


        Accession area