A new King means a lot of change for the legal community. The names and titles of a monarch are ingrained in the statutes of Manitoba since it was established. They have been adapted as needed, starting with the Court of King’s Bench of Manitoba.

The History of the Court of Queen’s Bench act.

There are probably only a few people around today that remember when it used to be called the King’s Bench, but the court has seen its share of name changes in its history. When the courts were first established in Manitoba, Queen Victoria was sovereign.

Originally, in 1871, the court was actually to be the called “The Supreme Court”:

1871 34 Vict Cap. 2

But that didn’t last long. The very next year the court was changed to reflect the role of the Queen, and already there were provisions should a King ascended to the throne.

1872 35 Vict Cap 3

The 1880 consolidation Chapter 31 stayed that way –

until the reign of Edward VII substituted the new title in 1901.

The 1902 consolidation would add some clarification to ongoing cases still in the King’s, or Queen’s, name.

And with the rise of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952 the title would change again.

1952 S.M. Ch. 13

While it’s still called “The Queen’s Bench Act” (C.C.S.M. c. C280) today, the provision for naming remains. Maybe some extra paperwork could have been saved in the last 150 years had they just stuck with “Supreme Court.”

Queen’s Counsel to King’s Counsel

Another piece of legislation to be updated involves the practice of appointing Queen’s Counsel. The practice was enacted in Manitoba in 1909 with King Edward.

1909 SM C.28 (9 Ed. VII cap. 28)

The practice would continue with The Law society Act, 1954 RSM Ch. 139.

This was maintained with R.S.M. 1987, c. L100 The Law Society Act s. 45 until it was repealed by The Legal Profession Act, S.M. 2002, c. 44 which had no appointments to Queen’s Counsel but instead intended to change the designation to Senior Counsel. That was only until 2018 however, when C.C.S.M. c. Q5 The Queen’s Counsel Act was enacted, and once again continued the practice.

Neutral Citations

One last small change to keep in mind is the change in the neutral citations for decisions. The most recent decisions from the King’s Bench have already adopted the MBKB citation.

The library will be closed on Monday, May 20th for Victoria Day