Court of Appeal of Quebec

Public Areas - Montreal

Seven-meter double doors in bronze and copper. Cormier sketched the iconic narrative of the doors which were then fashioned by Edgar Brandt. Each of the six tableaux represents a specific theme: truth, justice, judgement, the Criminal Code, pardon and punishment. Cormier also designed the doors of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, using a model similar to that used here at the Court of Appeal.

Above: four of the six bas reliefs:

  • Upper Right: Pardon 
  • Upper Left: Punishment 
  • Lower Right: the Criminal Code 
  • Lower Right: Judgment


Entrance to the Office of the Court of Appeal. Note the inscription “Greffe de la paix - Peace Office” above the entryway which dates from the period when the building housed the criminal courts.

The Grand Entry Hall (or “The Concourse”)

Cormier dubbed the Grand Entry Hall “The Concourse” because it reminded him of the architecture of a train station concourse. The ceiling is more than 16 meters high. The materials used here are of the highest quality: Italian travertine for the floor and walls, Sainte Genevieve Gold Vein marble from Missouri (USA) for the baseboards and doorframes. Natural light flows into the Entry Hall through three giant glass domes protected by clerestory.

The Gowning Room

This room was formerly a Court of Sessions and Summary Trials courtroom. As part of major restorations in 2003, the room was renovated to serve as a gowning room for counsel. The room is also occasionally used to host events (colloquia, etc.). The wood panelling on the walls is American oak, unlike the panelling in the primary courtrooms made from a finer material: walnut. These decorative details serve to illustrate the hierarchy of the rooms.  

Staircase leading to the Lafontaine Courtroom.


View of the entrance to the Lafontaine Courtroom.


The Lafontaine Courtroom

This courtroom was named in honour of the second chief justice of the Court of Appeal of Quebec, Sir Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine (the first having been James Stuart).

Who was Sir Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine? (1807–1864)

  • Lawyer, representative, statesman, judge and First Baronet;
  • Admitted to the Bar in 1829;
  • Representative at the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada (1830-1838);
  • Representative of Upper Canada (1841-1844);
  • Representative of Terrebonne (1844-1848);
  • Representative of Montreal (1848-1851);
  • First Premier of the United Province of Canada (with Robert Baldwin) and Attorney General of Lower Canada (1842-1843 and 1848-1851);
  • Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench (Court of Appeal of Quebec) (1853-1864);
  • Granted the title of Baronet of the British Crown in 1854;
  • Father of “Responsible Government” and ardent defender of the French language in Canada, he initiated the great judicial reform of 1849 and participated in the creation of many judicial institutions still in place today. 

The Lafontaine Courtroom

At the time when the building served as a criminal court, this courtroom was dedicated to trials for indictable offences, held before judge and jury. There was a time when the death penalty would be pronounced in this room by a judge wearing a tricorne and black gloves. Today, the Lafontaine Courtroom is used for extended hearings as well as for trials heard by a panel of five judges. The courtroom is also used for ceremonial purposes (for example, the swearing in of a new judge).

Courtroom bench provided for the public. The benches themselves are new, but the design is inspired by period furniture.


Inscriptions from the time the building served as a criminal court can be found above the entrance to each courtroom. This panel, indicating that the room was used for preliminary inquiries, can be found above the entrance to the Antonio Lamer Courtroom.

Mediation and Facilitation Room

Historically, the “Court of Sessions” was housed in this room. This is where ordinary trials were held before the Court of Quarter Sessions, which later became the Court of Petty Sessions. Today, the Court of Petty Sessions is the Criminal Division of the Court of Quebec. The court drew its name from its yearly sessions held in autumn, winter and spring. The roll was called at the beginning of each session of the Court and the session would continue until all cases on the roll had been heard.

Today, this room is dedicated to mediation (in civil matters) and facilitation conferences (in criminal matters). The Court begin offering mediation services in 1998, at the initiative of Justice Louise Otis. Mediation – often a simpler, more cost-efficient alternative for settling disputes – is frequently requested by the parties who then participate in settlement and finding a way to resolve their dispute.

The walls of the ground-floor hallways are decorated with marble from the Missisquoi Bay. The Missisquoi Bay quarry where the marble was originally sourced had been closed for some time and, given it could not be reopened, it was uncertain whether the damaged walls could be restored. But, the architects found an alternative, restoring the walls with a patchwork of in-tact marble slabs found in the basement restrooms and replacing those slabs with more contemporary marble.

Six works created by the artist Sylvie Cloutier grace the ground-floor hallways.