Your Guide To Filing An Appeal In Ontario

If you’ve recently received a court decision and feel an error was made, you might have grounds for appeal in Ontario. This guide will help you understand the process behind filing an appeal in Ontario.

What Is An Appeal?

An appeal occurs when you request a higher court to review the original decision in a trial or motion in your court case. Most often, appeals are brought to the Court of Appeal for Ontario and in some rare instances, thereafter to the Supreme Court of Canada.

You can appeal the following decisions:

  • Civil appeals in all manner of civil actions including jury trials
  • A criminal conviction
  • A sentence
  • A judicial review of the decisions of Boards or Tribunals

An important consideration to keep in mind is that an appeal is not a second trial, but rather a different phase of litigation where you must show that an error was made in the lower Court or Tribunal. 

judges gavel

How To File An Appeal On A Court Decision

When filing an appeal in Ontario, we recommend following these steps.

Hire Legal Representation

The first thing to consider in the appeal process is whether you need legal representation. You can always represent yourself, however, it may be in your best interest to hire an appellate lawyer. Conducting an appeal is a highly specialized process and requires the ability to spot important issues.

Once you’ve decided on legal representation, it’s time to prepare for filing your appeal.

File a Notice of Appeal

To initiate an appeal, a form called the Notice of Appeal and a Certificate Respecting Evidence must be served and filed within 30 days of the date of the decision.  It is important to start the process immediately after receiving your decision so that the time limits are not missed. 

In the Notice of Appeal, you must state what you are appealing and briefly explain what errors were made in the trial. Again, it is important to remember that an appeal is not a new trial, so you must demonstrate that errors were made in the decision or during the trial. 

Perfect Your Appeal

Once the notice of appeal has been filed, you must now perfect the appeal. This means you must gather and file all of the necessary documents. Documents that must be filed include:

  • An appeal book and compendium
  • An exhibit book
  • An appellant’s factum
  • The transcript of evidence (if required)

The timeline for this varies depending on whether transcripts of evidence are required for the appeal. If they are required, the appeal must be perfected within 60 days of completion of the transcripts. If transcripts are not required, the appeal must be perfected within 30 days of filing the notice of appeal. 

Appeal Hearing

Once your appeal has been perfected, it will be placed in line with the Court’s other appeals that are ready for hearing. Appeal hearings are typically scheduled within 6 months of the date of perfection. 

There may be more than one appeal hearing scheduled for the same day. When it’s time for your hearing, the Appeal Court will hear your oral arguments and those of the respondent. As the appellant, you will present yours first.

Appeal Decisions

Once the arguments have been heard, the Appeal Court has the authority to uphold, reverse, or modify the lower court’s ruling, and if an appeal is allowed, to order a new trial.

Contact Allan Rouben for an Experienced Appellate Lawyer

Allan Rouben is a highly skilled appellate lawyer who has successfully argued appeals in the Court of Appeal for Ontario. Contact Allan for a free consultation if you are seeking a lawyer for your appeal.