Read all about justice: 20 facts

  1. In 1907, the Supreme Court of Alberta was created, with an Appellate division and a Trial division. There was also a District Court of Alberta.
  2. On June 30, 1979, the District Court and the Supreme Court trial Division merged and became the Court of Queen’s Bench; the Appellate Division became the Court of Appeal of Alberta.
  3. Theft from oyster beds is still a Criminal Code offence.  It is not commonly prosecuted in Alberta.
  4. Alberta’s first French jury trial was conducted in Calgary from September 14 – 30, 1987, after an armoured car was robbed of $80,000. Three men, all residents of Quebec, were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
  5. Taking drift timber from a beach is a criminal offence in Alberta.
  6. For many years after its creation in 1875, the Supreme Court of Canada was not supreme. Folks could appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London for criminal matters until 1933.
  7. In 1916, Emily Murphy became the first female magistrate in the British Empire.
  8. The Famous Five were Emily Murphy, Irene Parlby, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards. The group of women took the Persons Case all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, and then the Privy Council in London. The case resulted in women being able to sit in the Canadian Senate.
  9. In 1907, the Alberta Legislature passed the first Legal Profession Act. The Alberta Law Society was formed in the same year.
  10. The Alberta Law Society appointed its first solicitor in 1909. That solicitor was the Honourable James Lougheed, the grandfather of the Honourable Peter Lougheed, former premier of Alberta.
  11. But before that, in 1882, Henry Bleeker was one of the first lawyers practising in Edmonton.
  12. In 1914 the University of Alberta granted the first law degree, and the Canadian Bar Association was formed to support lawyers.
  13. In 1915 the first woman was called to the Bar of Alberta. She was Lillian Ruby Clements of Vegreville.
  14. The Law Society established the first relief fund to assist indigent lawyers in 1931.
  15. In 1954, the Supreme Court of Canada settled a land title dispute between Alberta farmer Nick Turta, and Canadian Pacific Railway and Imperial Oil. Turta was awarded the mineral rights for oil-rich land near Leduc.
  16. A Legal Aid program, designed to help needy litigants in criminal cases, took effect in Edmonton in 1964, and throughout the province in 1965.
  17. The last man to hang in Alberta was Robert Raymond Cook. Cook was found guilty of murdering his father, stepmother and five siblings in 1959. He was hanged in the Fort Saskatchewan gallows on November 14, 1960.
  18. 18. Pretending to practise witchcraft is also considered a breach of criminal law in Alberta.
  19. The Alberta Code of Professional Conduct for lawyers was adopted in 1993.
  20. Earlier this year, Travis Baumgartner was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years for the Edmonton Hub Mall murders. It’s the harshest sentence handed down in Canada since Arthur Lucas was executed in 1962 for the murder of a police informant.
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