The Provincial Court is the entry point for all persons charged with offences under the Criminal Code or other federal or provincial legislation. The Provincial Court has jurisdiction to try almost all indictable offences involving adult accused (murder being the main exception), all offences involving youths under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (ages 12 to 18), and all summary conviction offences for both adults and youths. Even in indictable matters where the accused person has an election or choice to be tried in the Court of Queen's Bench by a judge sitting with or without a jury, the Provincial Court may first be required to hold a preliminary inquiry.
Provincial Court judges also receive Informations (the documents which contain charges), issue Search Warrants, Summonses, and Subpoenas, Warrants of Arrest, and conduct Bail Hearings of accused persons who appear before the Court in custody, in addition to conducting regular Court sittings on a daily basis.
Provincial Court judges also hold weekend “Remand Court” to allow persons who have been arrested by the police to be brought before a judge within 24 hours.
Provincial Court judges are designated as Youth Criminal Court Judges for the purpose of dealing with young persons between the ages of 12 and 18 years who are charged with offences.
Provincial Court judges have jurisdiction throughout the Province of New Brunswick.
The Provincial Court also has a Mental Health Court in the City of Saint John.
The Mental Health Court in Saint John began as a pilot project under the direction of Judge Alfred Brien. The model created by Judge Brien and the Mental Health Court Team was adopted as a permanent program of the Saint John Provincial Court on November 14, 2003.
The Saint John Mental Health Court is a fine example of the success that can be achieved when the judiciary and various public and private agencies come together to address an issue that pervades much of society and unfortunately finds its way into the “mainstream of courts all too often”. This innovative approach has developed an effective means of dealing with individuals who come into conflict with the law as a result of a mental illness or intellectual disability.