The Court System for Family Matters

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

There are three levels of court in British Columbia: the Provincial CourtA court established and staffed by the provincial government, which includes Small Claims Court, Youth Court and Family Court. The Provincial Court is the lowest level of court in British Columbia and is restricted in the sorts of matters it can deal with. Small Claims Court, for example, cannot deal with claims larger than $25,000, and Family Court cannot deal with the division of family property or matters under the ''Divorce Act''. See "judge" and "jurisdiction.", the Supreme CourtNormally referred to as the "Supreme Court of British Columbia," this court hears most court proceedings in this province. The Supreme Court is a court of inherent jurisdiction and is subject to no limits on the sorts of claims it can hear or on the sorts of orders it can make. Decisions of the Provincial Court are appealed to the Supreme Court; decisions of the Supreme Court are appealed to the Court of Appeal. See "Court of Appeal," "jurisdiction," "Provincial Court" and "Supreme Court of Canada.", and the Court of AppealThe highest level of court in this province, having the jurisdiction to review decisions of the Supreme Court, all provincial lower courts and certain tribunals. See "appeal.". Above all of these courts is the Supreme Court of CanadaThe highest level of court in Canada. This court hears appeals from the decisions of the Federal Court of Appeal and the provincial courts of appeal, including the Court of Appeal for British Columbia. There is no court to appeal to beyond this court. See "Court of Appeal" and "Supreme Court.", the highest court in Canada. The Provincial Court and the Supreme Court are trialThe testing of the claims at issue in a court proceeding at a formal hearing before a judge with the jurisdiction to hear the proceeding. The parties present their evidence and arguments to the judge, who then makes a determination of the parties' claims against one another that is final and binding the parties unless appealed. See "action," "appeal," "argument," "claim," "evidence" and "jurisdiction." courts. They listen to witnesses and hear arguments and make decisions. The Court of Appeal only hears appeals. It listens to arguments about why the trial judgeA person appointed by the federal or provincial governments to manage and decide court proceedings in an impartial manner, independent of influence by the parties, the government or agents of the government. The decisions of a judge are binding upon the parties to the proceeding, and are subject to appeal. was wrong and sometimes cancels the trial decisionIn law, a judge's conclusions after hearing argument and considering the evidence presented at a trial or an application; a judgment; the judge's reasons. A judge's written or oral decision will include the judge's conclusions about the relief or remedies claimed as well as his or her findings of fact and conclusions of law. A written decision is called the judge’s "reasons for judgment." See "common law," "conclusions of law," and "findings of fact.".

The Provincial Court can only deal with certain kinds of issues and claims. The Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal are our province's superior courts and they can deal with all issues and claims; their jurisdictionWith respect to judges, the authority of the court to hear an action and make orders; the limits of the authority of a particular judicial official; the geographic location of a court; the territorial limits of a court's authority. With respect to governments, the authority of a government to make legislation as determined by the constitution; the limits of authority of a particular government agents. See “constitution." is limited only by their rules and the constitutionThe rules that set out the political and legal organization of a state. The power and authority of the governments and the courts, as well as their limits, stem from the constitution. In Canada, there are two primary constitutional documents, the ''Constitution Act, 1867'' and the ''Constitution Act, 1982''. The ''Charter of Rights and Freedoms'' is part of the ''''Constitution Act, 1982''..

This section provides an introduction to the Provincial Court, the Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeal.

Introduction

Our court system has its origins hundreds of years ago in England. In the middle ages, people would come to the king on special days set aside for the hearingIn law, any proceeding before a judicial official to determine questions of law and questions of fact, including the hearing of an application and the hearing of a trial. See "decision" and "evidence." of "petitions," complaints made by someone (the petitionerA person starting a court proceeding by Petition. See "Petition.") against someone else (the respondentThe person against whom a claim has been brought by Notice of Family Claim. See “application” and “Notice of Family Claim."). If the petition got heard, and not all did, the king would make a decision that the parties were obliged to accept, putting an end to the complaint.

As the rule of law became more and more important in maintaining a civil society and the law itself became more and more complicated, kings and queens began to farm out the job of hearing petitions to people specially appointed to hear them, called judges. Eventually the monarchy got out of the business altogether, and left the hearing of petitions to the judges. The English court system became more complex as time went on, and different types of courts, like the Courts of Equity and the Courts of the Exchequer, were eventually set up to deal with different kinds of problems.

The English court system was brought to British Columbia when the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia were founded in the middle of the nineteenth century. Our local court system was brought into the Canadian system when British Columbia entered Confederation in 1871.

The fundamental purpose of the courts today is the same as it was then, to resolve people's disputes. We still use a lot of the same terms that were used hundreds of years ago — there's even a court form called a PetitionA court form required by the Supreme Court Family Rules used to commence court proceedings that can be dealt with in the manner of an application, without the need for a protracted process of disclosure and discovery. See "action," "application," "disclosure" and "discovery." — although we've merged the different types of courts into a single system with the authority to decide every sort of problem.

Our courts deal with all manner of disputes, from the government's complaint that someone has committed a crime, to a propertySomething which can be owned. See "chattels" and "real property." owner's complaint that someone has trespassed on his or her property, to an employee's complaint of wrongful dismissal, to a driver's complaint that someone else was responsible for an accident and the damage the accident caused. The job of the judge is to hear each case and decide what an appropriate and fair solution should be, in a fair, impartial and unbiased manner, free from any interference by the government.

The courts of British Columbia

Today we have three levels of court in British Columbia:

  1. the Provincial Court of British Columbia,
  2. the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and
  3. the Court of Appeal for British Columbia.

Each successive level of court is "superior" to the other, with the Provincial Court being the lowest level of court and the Court of Appeal being the highest. Above our Court of Appeal is the Supreme Court of Canada, which deals with cases from all of the courts of appealAn application to a higher court for a review of the correctness of a decision of a lower court. A decision of a judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia can be appealed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. A decision of a judge of the Supreme Court can be appealed to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia. across Canada.

The Provincial Court and the Supreme Court of British Columbia are where the bulk of family law court proceedings are heard. The Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada only hear appeals of decisions made by the lower courts. As a result, only a few family law cases are brought to the Court of Appeal. Fewer still are brought to the Supreme Court of Canada, partly because that court must give permission to hear appeals in non-criminal cases and partly because it can cost a great deal of money to take a case that far. Appeals generally tend to be complicated and fairly expensive. This generally discourages carrying cases beyond trial.

Making the choice of forumIn law, a particular court or level of court, sometimes used in reference to the court's jurisdiction over a particular issue.

There are important differences between the Provincial Court and the Supreme Court. Deciding in which court to start a proceedingIn law, the whole of the conduct of a court proceeding, from beginning to end, and the steps in between; may also be used to refer to a specific hearing or trial. See "action." is called making the choice of forum.

The Provincial Court can only deal with issues relating to parenting and the care of children, child supportMoney paid by one parent or guardian to another parent or guardian as a contribution to the cost of a child's living expenses., spousal supportMoney paid by one spouse to another spouse either as a contribution toward the spouse's living expenses or to compensate the spouse for the economic consequences of decisions made by the spouses during their relationship., and protection orders. The Supreme Court has the authority to deal with all of those issues as well, but only the Supreme Court can make an orderA mandatory direction of the court, binding and enforceable upon the parties to a court proceeding. An "interim order" is a temporary order made following the hearing of an interim application. A "final order" is a permanent order, made following the trial of the court proceeding or the parties' settlement, following which the only recourse open to a dissatisfied party is to appeal. See "appeal," "consent order," "decision" and "declaration." for divorce, make other orders under the Divorce Act, or make orders about the division of family propertyA term under the ''Family Law Act'' referring to property acquired by either or both spouses during their relationship and after separation, if bought with family property. Both spouses are presumed to be equally entitled to share in family property. See "excluded property." and family debts.

The rules of the Supreme Court can be very complicated and fees are charged for common activities, like starting a court proceedingA legal proceeding in which one party sues another for a specific remedy or relief, also called an "action," a "lawsuit" or a "case." A court proceeding for divorce, for example, is a proceeding in which the claimant sues the respondent for the relief of a divorce order., making an applicationA request to the court that it make an order for a specific remedy or relief usually on an interim or temporary basis, also called a "chambers application" or a "motion." See also "interim application" and "relief.", or hearing a trial. The rules of the Provincial Court are more straightforward and no fees are charged.

It is possible to start a proceeding in the Provincial Court to deal with things like child support and then start a proceeding in the Supreme Court to get a divorceThe legal termination of a valid marriage by an order of a judge; the ending of a marital relationship and the conjugal obligations of each spouse to the other. See "conjugal rights," "marriage," and "marriage, validity of." and deal with things like property. However it can be confusing to manage two court proceedings, and you have to be careful not to bring up issues in one court that are being dealt with by the other court.

The Provincial Court

The Provincial Court is usually the most accessible court for people who aren't represented by a lawyerA person licensed to practice law in a particular jurisdiction. See "barrister and solicitor.". The Provincial Court Family Rules which govern the Provincial Court's process are written in easy-to-understand language, the court doesn't charge any filing fees, and most people who use the Provincial Court don't have a lawyer. There are also a lot more courthouses across the province for the Provincial Court than there are for the Supreme Court.

There are four divisions of the Provincial Court. Provincial (Family) Court is the one that deals with family law problems.

Jurisdiction

The Provincial Court can only deal with claims for orders under the Family Law Act and the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act. The Provincial Court does not have the jurisdiction to make orders for the division of family property or family debtA term under the ''Family Law Act'' referring to debt owed by either or both spouses that accumulated during the spouses' relationship and after separation, if used to maintain family property. Both spouses are presumed to be equally liable for family debt., the management of children's property, or financial restraining orders. It cannot make orders under the Divorce Act.

The Provincial Court cannot make declarations about the parentage of a child except if necessary to deal with another claimThe assertion of a legal right to an order or to a thing; the remedy or relief sought by a party to a court proceeding. about children, like a claim for child support or guardianship.

The Provincial Court can hear claims about these issues:

  1. guardianship,
  2. parental responsibilitiesA term under the ''Family Law Act'' which describes the various responsibilities exercised by guardians in the care, upbringing and management of the children in their care, including determining the child's education, diet, religious instruction or lack thereof, medical care, linguistic and cultural instruction, and so forth. See "guardian." and parenting timeA term under the ''Family Law Act'' which describes the time a guardian has with a child and during which is responsible for the day to day care of the child. See "guardian.",
  3. contactA term under the ''Family Law Act'' that describes the visitation rights of a person who is not a guardian with a child. Contact may be provided by court order or by the agreement among the child's guardians who have parental responsibility for determining contact. See "guardian" and "parental responsibilities." with a childA person who is younger than the legal age of majority, 19 in British Columbia. See "age of majority.",
  4. child support,
  5. spousal support,
  6. changing and cancelling Provincial Court orders,
  7. enforcing Provincial Court orders,
  8. enforcing Supreme Court about guardianship, parental responsibilities, parenting time and contact, and
  9. relocation.

Court proceedings

The Provincial Court has special rules just for family law proceedings, the Provincial Court Family Rules. If you are involved in a proceeding in the Provincial Court, you should read and understand these rules. The rules of courtThe guidelines governing the court process and the conduct of litigation generally. The rules of court are particular to each level of court. say how every aspect of a Provincial Court case is run, from starting a court proceeding to scheduling a trial. They set out important deadlines and limitations, and say what court forms must be used for which purpose. You also need to have a look at the Practice Directions issued by the Chief Judge, which clarify aspects of the rules of court and describe additional processes and procedures.

Procedure

The person who starts a proceeding in the Provincial Court is the applicantA party who brings an application to the court for a specific remedy or relief. Usually refers to the party making an interim application, but in the Provincial Court can mean the person who starts a court proceeding. See also "court proceeding," "application respondent" and "interim application.". The person against whom the court proceeding is brought is the respondent.

The applicant starts a proceeding by filing in court an Application to Obtain an OrderA legal document required by the Provincial Court Family Rules to bring a court proceeding, which sets out the relief sought by the applicant against the person named as respondent. See "action," "applicant," "pleadings," "relief," and "respondent." in Form 1 and serving it on each respondent. The Application to Obtain an Order must be personally served on the respondent by an adult other than the applicant. The respondent has 30 days to answerA response to an allegation of fact or to a claim. Usually refers to documents which reply to the allegations or claims made by the other party, such as a "Response to Family Claim" or a "Reply." the claim by filing a ReplyA legal document required by the Provincial Court Family Rules to respond to a claim made in an applicant's Application to Obtain an Order. See "applicant," "Application to Obtain an Order," "claim," and "Counterclaim." in Form 3; the court clerk will send a copy of the Reply to the applicant. The Reply can also be used to make a counterclaim, the respondent's own claim against the applicant. A respondent who does not file a Reply is not entitled to notice of further hearings in the caseIn law, a court proceeding; a lawsuit; an action; a cause of action; a claim. Also the historic decisions of the court. See "action," "case law, " "court proceeding," and "precedent.".

Depending on which courthouse the proceeding is started at, one or both parties may have to attend the parenting after separation course, and possibly also meet with a family justice counsellor, before they can go before a judge. Family justice counsellors are government employees trained in mediationA dispute resolution process in which a mediator facilitates discussions between the parties to a legal dispute and helps them reach a compromise settling the dispute. See "alternative dispute resolution" and "family law mediator." who can help with issues about the care of children, child support and spousal support.

At the parties' first appearance before a judge, the judge may order the parties to attend a family case conference. A family case conference is a private meeting between the parties, their lawyers and a judge to talk about the legal issues and see whether any of them can be settled. In general, a judge will not make orders at a family case conference except with the parties' agreement. Family case conferences can be very helpful; there's more information about family case conferences in the chapter Resolving Problems in Court in the section on Case Conferences.

Interim applications, applications for temporary orders, can be made by filing a Notice of Motion in Form 16. It is always best to file an Affidavit in Form 17 with the Notice of Motion. An affidavit is a person's written evidenceFacts or proof of facts presented to a judge at a hearing or trial. Evidence can be given through the oral testimony of witnesses, in writing as business records and other documents, or in the form of physical objects. Evidence must be admissible according to the rules of court and the rules of evidence. See "circumstantial evidence," "hearsay," and "testimony.", which the person swears is true before a lawyer, notary publicA person authorized to administer affirmations and oaths, and to execute or certify documents. All lawyers are notaries public in addition to being barristers and solicitors. See "barrister and solicitor.” or court staff member able to take oaths. There's more information about interim applications in the chapter Resolving Problems in Court in the section on Interim Applications.

Applications to change final orders are made by filing an Application to Change or Cancel an Order in Form 2 and serving on the other parties. The other parties have 30 days to replyIn law, an answer or rebuttal to a claim made or a defence raised by the other party to court proceeding or legal dispute. See "action," "claim," "defence" and "rebut." by filing a Reply in Form 3.

Addressing the court

Judges of the Provincial Court are addressed as "Your Honour."

Appeals

Final orders of the Provincial Court may be appealed to the Supreme Court. The appeal must be started within 40 days of the date the final order was made.

According to s. 233(1) of the Family Law Act, only final orders may be appealed. In a case called Dima v. Dima, 2011 BCCA 86, the Court of Appeal confirmed that the only way to challenge an interim orderAny order made prior to the final resolution of a court proceeding by trial or by settlement; a temporary, rather than permanent or final order. See "application" and "interim application." of the Provincial Court is through judicial reviewIn law, the re-examination of a term of an order or agreement, usually to determine whether the term remains fair and appropriate in light of the circumstances prevailing at the time of the review. In family law, particularly the review of an order or agreement provided for the payment of spousal support. See "de novo," "family law agreements," "order" and "spousal support." under the Judicial Review Procedure Act.

It's important to know that an order that is appealed remains in effect unless the judge who made the order says otherwise. Starting an appeal doesn't mean that you can ignore the order you are appealing.

The Supreme Court

Unlike the Provincial Court, the Supreme Court has the authority to deal with all family law issues. If the Provincial Court cannot deal with an issue, the Supreme Court is where you will have to start a proceeding. As well, the Supreme Court is the only court that can grant an order for divorce.

There are fewer registries of the Supreme Court than there are for the Provincial Court. Court fees, fees for services like filing documents or starting a court proceeding, are also paid in the Supreme Court; no fees are charged by the Provincial Court.

The Supreme Court is also a lot more formal than the Provincial Court. While it is possible to represent yourself in the Supreme Court, the rules of court used for family law matters, the Supreme Court Family Rules, are complicated and are applied strictly. The assistance of a lawyer is highly recommended.

Court jurisdiction

The Supreme Court has authority to deal with the same issues as the Provincial Court and more:

  1. the Supreme Court has inherent jurisdiction, which means it can deal with every kind of legal issue,
  2. the Supreme Court can deal with claims under the Divorce Act, including making divorce orders, as well as claims under the Family Law Act,
  3. the Supreme Court can divide family property and family debt under the Family Law Act,
  4. the Supreme Court may divide assets between people who aren't spouses under the common lawThe legal principle under which courts are bound to follow the principles established by previous courts in similar cases dealing with similar facts. The system of justice used in non-criminal cases in all provinces and territories except Quebec. like the law of trusts, or under legislationAn act; a statute; a written law made by a government. See "regulations." like the Land Title Act or the Partition of Property Act,
  5. the Supreme Court may issue restraining orders freezing financial assets, and
  6. the Supreme Court hears appeals from decisions of the Provincial Court.

Court proceedings

The Supreme Court has special rules just for family law proceedings, the Supreme Court Family Rules. If you are involved in a proceeding before the Supreme Court, you should try to read and understand these rules. The rules of court govern every aspect of a Supreme Court case, from starting a court proceeding to scheduling a trial. They set out important deadlines and limitations, and say what court forms must be used for which purpose. You also need to have a look at the Practice Directions and Administrative Notices issued by the Chief Justice, which clarify aspects of the rules of court and describe additional processes and procedures.

Procedure

Most Supreme Court family law proceedings are started by filing in court a Notice of Family ClaimA legal document required by the Supreme Court Family Rules to begin a court proceeding, setting out the relief claimed by the claimant and the grounds on which that relief is claimed. See "action," "claim," "claimant," "pleadings" and "relief." in Form F3. The person who starts a proceeding by a Notice of Family Claim is the claimantThe person who starts a court proceeding seeking an order for specific remedy or relief against another person, the respondent. See "action" and "respondent.", and the person against whom the claim is brought is the respondent. In certain unusual cases, a proceeding can also be started by filing in court a Petition in Form F73. Someone starting a proceeding with a Petition is the petitioner, and the other partyIn law, a person named as an applicant, claimant, respondent or third party in a court proceeding; someone asserting a claim in a court proceeding or against whom a claim has been brought. See "action" and "litigant." is the petition respondentThe person against whom a court proceeding has been started by Petition. See "Petition.".

Notices of Family Claim and Petitions must be personally served on the other party by an adult other than the claimant or petitioner.

A respondent may reply to a Notice of Family Claim by filing a Response to Family ClaimA legal document required by the Supreme Court Family Rules in which the respondent to a court proceeding sets out his or her reply to the claimant's claim and the grounds for his or her reply. See "action," claim," "Notice of Family Claim" and "pleadings." in Form F4. A respondent who does not file a Response to Family Claim is not entitled to notice of further hearings in the case. The respondent may also file a CounterclaimA legal document required by the Supreme Court Family Rules in which a respondent sets out a claim for a specific remedy or relief against a claimant. See "Notice of Family Claim" and "Response to Family Claim." in Form F5. A counterclaim is the respondent's own claim against the applicant.

In general, before anyone can do anything else, the parties must attend a judicial case conference. A judicial case conference is a private meeting between the parties, their lawyers and a masterA provincially-appointed judicial official with limited jurisdiction usually charged with making decisions before and after final judgment in a court proceeding, including the hearing of interim applications, the assessment of lawyers' bills and the settling of bills of cost. See "interim application," "judge," and "jurisdiction." or judge to talk about the legal issues and see whether any of them can be settled. The master or judge who hears a judicial case conference cannot make orders, except for procedural orders, without the parties' agreement. Judicial case conferences can be very helpful; cases sometimes even settle at judicial case conferences. There's more information about judicial case conferences in the chapter Resolving Problems in Court in the section on Case Conferences.

Interim applications, applications for temporary orders, can be made by filing a Notice of ApplicationA legal document required by the Supreme Court Family Rules to bring an interim application, setting out the relief claimed by the applicant, the grounds on which that relief is claimed, and the date on which the application will be heard. See "applicant," "grounds," "interim application" and "relief." in Form F31 and an Affidavit in Form F30. An affidavit is a person's written evidence, which the person swears is true before a lawyer, notary public or court staff member able to take oaths. The person making an application is the applicant; the person against whom an application is brought is the application respondentA party against whom an interim application has been brought. See also "applicant" and "interim application.". An application respondent may reply to a Notice of Application by filing an Application ResponseA legal document required by the Supreme Court Family Rules to reply to a Notice of Application, which sets out the relief agreed to and opposed by the application respondent and the facts in support of that position. See "interim application." in Form F32 and an Affidavit within five business daysA method of calculating time under which the days for a legal deadline are determined based on when the court is open for business, excluding weekends and holidays. See "calendar days" and "clear days." after service of the Notice of Application. There's more information about interim applications in the chapter Resolving Problems in Court in the section on Interim Applications.

Applications to change final orders are made by filing a Notice of Application in Form F31 and an Affidavit in Form F30 and serving them on the other parties. The process works like the process for interim applications, except that the application respondent has 14 business days to reply.

Addressing the court

There are two kinds of judicial official at the Supreme Court that hear applications and trials, masters and justices, both of which we'll refer to as "judges" for convenience. Masters have sort of the same kind of authority as Provincial Court judges and are responsible for hearing most interim applications. Justices hear other types of interim applications, trials and applications to change final orders.

Masters of the Supreme Court are addressed as "Your Honour." Justices are addressed as "My Lord" or "My Lady," or, if you want, as "Your Lordship" or "Your Ladyship."

Appeals

Interim orders of masters may be appealed to a justice of the Supreme Court. A party appealing the order of a master must file a Notice of AppealA legal document required by the rules of court which is used to give notice of a party's intention to appeal a decision. See "appeal" and "decision." in Form F98 within 14 days of the order.

Interim and final orders of justices of the Supreme Court are appealed to the Court of Appeal and must be brought within 30 days of the date of the order. Appeals to the Court of Appeal proceed under the Court of Appeal's rules of court and court forms.

It's important to know that an order that is appealed remains in effect unless the master or justice who made the order says otherwise. Starting an appeal doesn't mean that you can ignore the order you are appealing.

The Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal has the same sort of jurisdiction as the Supreme Court. It can deal with every kind of legal problem. However, this court does not hear trials, it only hears appeals from decisions of the Supreme Court. Although the Court of Appeal's central registryA central office, located in each judicial district, at which the court files for each court proceeding in that district are maintained, and at which legal documents can be filed, searched and reviewed; a courthouse. is in Vancouver, the court occasionally hears cases in Victoria, Kelowna and Kamloops.

Appeals are a fairly expensive process. You should only bring an appeal after you've given a lot of thought to the cost of the appeal and your chances of success; don't leap to appeal a decision just because you don't like it or are angry. Give some serious thought to the appeal first and consider asking a lawyer to review your case and the reasons for judgmentA judge's conclusions after hearing argument and considering the evidence presented at a trial or an application; a decision, the judge's reasons. A judge's written or oral decision will include the judge's conclusions about the relief or remedies claimed as well as his or her findings of fact and conclusions of law. A written decision is called the judge’s "reasons for judgment." See "common law," "conclusions of law," "findings of fact," and "final judgment." from trial. Simply put, the cost of the appeal may outweigh the benefit you will get even if you win.

Court proceedings

If you are involved in a proceeding before the Court of Appeal, you must read the Court of Appeal Act and the Court of Appeal's Rules of Court. The actIntentionally doing a thing; a law passed by a government, also called "legislation" or a "statute." See "regulations." and the rules govern every aspect of an appeal, from starting an appeal to the size and colour of paper to use for court documents. They set out important deadlines and limitations, and say what court forms must be used for which purpose. You also need to have a look at the Practice Directives issued by the Chief Justice, which clarify aspects of the rules of court and describe additional processes and procedures.

While it is possible to represent yourself in the Court of Appeal, the court requires strict compliance with its rules and the assistance of a lawyer is highly recommended.

Procedure

Appeals are started by filing in court a Notice of Appeal in Form 7 or, depending on the circumstances, a Notice of Application for Leave to Appeal in Form 1, and must be started within 30 days of the order appealed from. The person who starts an appeal is the appellantThe party who brings an appeal of a lower court's decision. See also "appeal" and "respondent.", the other parties are respondents. The appellant must serve the Notice of Appeal on all respondents. After being served, a respondent has 15 days to file a Notice of Cross Appeal in Form 8; this is only necessary if the respondent also wants to appeal the Supreme Court's order.

Interim applications, applications for temporary orders, can be made by filing a Notice of Motion in Form 6 and serving the Notice on the other parties. Applications are rarely necessary, but when they are, the rules say they must be completed within 30 minutes.

All appeals are based on the evidence before the judge who made the original decision. Before an appeal can be heard, the appellant must get transcripts of all of the oral evidence heard at trial, prepare a book with all of the documents used as evidence at trial, and prepare a book with all of the pleadings filed in the Supreme Court proceeding. (Transcripts in particular are hideously expensive to obtain.) Each side must also prepare a written argumentIn law, an attempt to persuade by logical reasoning. Usually refers to oral or written argument presented to a judge following the presentation of evidence, or to a written summary of argument., called a factum, as well as books containing all the statuteAn act, legislation; a written law made by a government. law and case lawThe law as is established and developed by the decisions made in each court proceeding. See "common law." he or she will be relying on in arguing the appeal. The court registryA central office, located in each judicial district, at which the court files for each court proceeding in that district are maintained, and at which legal documents can be filed, searched, and reviewed. is very particular about how these materials are prepared; read the Court of Appeal Rules very carefully!

Appeals are heard by a panel of three judges; when a legal issue is particularly important, the appeal may be heard by a panel of five judges. The panel reaches its decision after reading through the parties' factums, hearing the parties' oral arguments, and considering the law that applies to the issues. The decision of the panel is the decision of a majority of the judges; the judge or judges who disagree with the majority decision are said to dissentDisagreement; the decision of a judge of the Court of Appeal who disagrees with the decision reached by the majority of the judges who heard the same appeal. See "appeal" and "Court of Appeal.".

Addressing the court

The justices of the Court of Appeal are addressed as "My Lord" or "My Lady," or, if you want, as "Your Lordship" or "Your Ladyship."

Appeals

Decisions of the Court of Appeal can be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. However, the Supreme Court of Canada must first grant leave for the appeal to be brought. There is no automatic right to appeal a judgment of the Court of Appeal.

Resources and links

Legislation

Resources

Links


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