The Provincial Court deals mainly with criminal charges, except for the most serious indictable offences, like murder, when the charge is against an adult. If an accused person elects or is subject to trial in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, the Provincial Court may hold a preliminary inquiry.
Criminal cases involving young people under the age of 18 are heard in the Youth Justice Court, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Court. As well, the province’s Wellness Court Programs that focus on mental health, substance use, domestic violence and Indigenous restorative justice principles operate under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Court.
The Provincial Court has exclusive jurisdiction over all summary offence charges under provincial and federal statutes and regulations. This includes disputed parking tickets and Motor Vehicle Act infractions, which are often heard in Night Court.
Judges of the Provincial Court preside over these matters throughout the province. They also preside over inquiries under the Fatality Investigations Act and conduct recounts under the Municipal Elections Act.
Appearing in Provincial Court via Video Link
The use of videoconferencing is now common practice in Provincial Courts throughout Nova Scotia. It is possible for witnesses, defendants, counsel and even judges to appear and participate in the court process by video. The documents below outline the processes for requesting video links.