How Do I Appeal a Court of Appeal Decision?

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

A decision of the Court of Appeal is appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, the highest court in Canada, and the court from which there is no other avenue of appeal.

Unlike appeals to the Court of Appeal, there is no automatic right to appeal family law decisions to the Supreme Court of Canada, and you must first apply for leave to appeal. If you are successful, then and only then you will be allowed to proceed with your appeal.

The court does not hear evidence or have a formal hearing on leave applications, and only rarely issues reasons explaining why it granted or denied leave in a particular case. In family law cases, leave is denied much more often than it's allowed.

In general, the court is more likely to grant leave where a case raises an issue that should be decided for the benefit of everyone, not just the couple involved in the Court of Appeal decision.

Appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada are far more complicated than appeals to the Court of Appeal, not least because of the requirement of applying for permission to bring the appeal. As a result, it is critical that you hire a lawyer to bring an appeal to that court, and this wikibook won't say much more about the matter than that. Hire a lawyer.

The website of the Supreme Court of Canada will give you a very thorough overview of the court's role, the rules of court, and the court's special forms. It has a helpful FAQ section, including a whole section on applying for leave to appeal.


This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Mary Mouat QC and Samantha Rapoport, June 29, 2017.


Creativecommonssmall.png JP Boyd on Family Law © John-Paul Boyd and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.
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