Conducting an appeal is a highly specialized endeavour. The skills needed in reviewing large volumes of documents and finding grounds for appeal require focus and the ability to spot important issues. I have a wealth of experience handling appeals in the Court of Appeal for Ontario, many of them on issues of importance for the administration of justice in Ontario. I have also written and spoken at conferences in the areas of oral and written advocacy and appellate practice. I have appeared as counsel on interventions for the the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association in the Superior Court of Justice, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.
Samples of my work are posted on this website for independent assessment and review. You can also find testimonials from lawyers and clients who have retained my services on appeal matters.
If you are looking for an experienced appeal lawyer, I invite you to call me. Call Allan today for an experienced Toronto Appeals Lawyer.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: APPEALS
What is the Court of Appeal for Ontario?
The Court of Appeal for Ontario is the highest appellate court in Ontario. The Court hears appeals in civil cases where the judgment exceeds $50,000.00, with leave from decisions of the Divisional Court and in serious criminal cases. Appeals are heard by panels of three judges. The Court hears over 1,000 appeals per year.
How long do I have to appeal?
Appeals in civil cases must be commenced within 30 days of the making of the order being appealed from. The appeal is started by serving the opposing party and filing with the Court a notice of appeal setting out the grounds of appeal, and a certificate respecting evidence setting out the evidence required for the appeal.
What is the appeal process?
After the appeal is filed, the appellant must order the transcript of the trial proceedings. Once those have been prepared, the appellant must prepare a Factum, an Appeal Book and Compendium and an Exhibit Book. Preparation of the Factum is extremely important as it represents the written argument on why the decision under appeal should be reversed. This requires careful review of the facts and applicable legal principles. The appeal judges review the Factum with great care and can form strong impressions on the merits of the appeal prior to the oral argument. Therefore, the necessary time and effort must be undertaken to formulate as persuasive a Factum as possible.
The Appeal Book and Compendium consists of the notice of appeal, the decision being appealed from and extracts of the transcripts and documentary exhibits that are referred to in the Factum. The purpose of the Appeal Book is to provide the Court with a convenient reference point for the important information in the case. By contrast, the Exhibit Book consists of all the exhibits filed at the trial or hearing being appealed from.
Once the Factum, Appeal Book and Exhibit Book have been filed, the appellant must file a certificate of perfection indicating that all necessary documents have been filed and the appeal is ready for hearing. Legal staff on the Court will then review the documents to determine the appropriate length of time each side will receive for oral argument of the appeal. The Registrar of the Court will then send out a notice with the hearing date. Civil appeals can be expected to be heard within 4-6 months of the perfection of the appeal.
What happens to the decision while it is under appeal?
Orders or judgments for the payment of money, except support orders in a family law case, are automatically stayed upon the filing of a notice of appeal. This means that payment of the judgment is not required pending the outcome of the appeal. Conversely, there is no automatic stay for orders or judgments other than for the payment of money. In those cases, the appellant can bring a motion before a single judge of the Court of Appeal requesting that the order be stayed. The judge will consider the merits of the appeal and the balance of convenience to both sides in deciding whether a stay of the order is warranted pending the outcome of the appeal.
Should I appeal?
The decision on whether to launch an appeal will depend on the facts of the individual case. For appellants, it must be borne in mind that the Court of Appeal does not retry the case, and is required to accept the trial judge’s findings of fact unless the judge has made a very serious error. This is a substantial hurdle to overcome, and assessment of whether an appeal has a chance of success must start with this proposition. That said, where it can be said that a trial judge may have erred in the assessment of the evidence or otherwise made a legal error, an appeal may be warranted. This should be considered in consultation with an experienced appeal lawyer.
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