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So You Want to Appeal… (Part 1): General Overview

Unfortunately, when involved in a civil court case in Ontario, you run the risk of receiving a judgment that leaves you unhappy and/or disappointed. If that’s the case, you likely have a right to appeal, no matter which court your originating processes was heard in, and provided certain preconditions exist. The appeal process itself, and in which court the appeal is to be heard, depends not only on which court made the original decision, but also on factors such as the type of award you were given and whether or not you need leave (court permission) to appeal. The Court of Appeal for Ontario has a very informative website; but here’s a brief overview:

Originating court: Small Claims Court

Appeal to: Divisional Court
Caveat: your claim must be for $2,500.00 or more

Originating court: Ontario Court of Justice

(First) Appeal to: Superior Court of Justice
Caveat: unless legislation provides otherwise

(Second) Appeal to: Court of Appeal

Originating court: Superior Court of Justice

  1. Originating judgment was over $50,000.00
    Appeal to: Court of Appeal
  2. Originating judgement was under $50,000.00
    (First) Appeal to: Divisional Court
    (Second) Appeal to: Court of Appeal
    Caveat: requires leave of the Court of Appeal
  3. Originating judgement was a temporary order
    (First) Appeal to: Divisional Court
    Caveat: requires leave of the Divisional Court
    (Second) Appeal to: Court of Appeal
    Caveat: requires leave of the Court of Appeal

Originating court: Superior Court of Justice – Family

(First) Appeal to: Divisional Court
(Second) Appeal to: Court of Appeal

Originating court: Divisional Court

Appeal to: Court of Appeal
Caveat: must be on a question that is not a question of fact alone
Caveat: requires leave of the Court of Appeal

That being said, there are a variety of statutes, such as the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, which specifically describe the appeal process required for cases falling under them. No matter your case, be sure to consult the applicable Act(s), as well as a litigation lawyer, to ensure the proper procedures and timelines are followed.

Here, we are speaking of court cases only. There are special provisions which apply if you are looking to appeal a decision of an administrative tribunal, or are seeking to have it the subject matter of a judicial review.

In the following posts, I will go into more detail on the processes involved in the various avenues of appeal described above. If you would like more information on appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada, see Gordon Greenwood’s blog, “Keep Calm and Retain a Supreme Court of Canada Agent”, as well as future Supreme Court of Canada Agency blog posts, for more information.

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