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Computation of Time (Rule 5) in the Supreme Court of Canada

At any level of Court, service and filing deadlines loom.  Calculating those deadlines is one of the most important and sometimes one of the most confusing tasks to be completed.  Include the day of the first event but exclude the day of the second event…or is it the other way around?  At the Supreme Court of Canada calculating deadlines is just as important and perhaps just as befuddling.

Missing a deadline for filing an Application for Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, or any document throughout the appeal process itself, doesn’t mean you have lost your chance to file; it does mean preparing motion materials, additional costs, and reliance on the Court to allow you to file late.  Calculating service and filing deadlines correctly ensures you avoid the additional cost and headache of filing late.

Let’s take a look at Rule 5 of the Supreme Court of Canada Rules which governs the computation of time.  Much of it is common sense and if you have any experience calculating filing deadlines in lower level Courts you will see that similar rules apply in the Supreme Court of Canada.

Rule 5(1.1) deals with calculating deadlines when filing must take place within a specified number of weeks, e.g. on appeal, the Appellant must file its Factum, Record and Book of Authorities within 8 weeks of the filing of the Notice of Appeal.  To calculate the deadline, you would exclude the day the Notice of Appeal was filed and include the last day of the last seven day period.

Rule 5(2) excludes holidays when calculating periods of less than 6 days.

Specific to calculating deadlines in the Supreme Court of Canada is the exclusion of the month of July (Rule 5(3)) and the period beginning on December 21st in any year and ending January 7th in the following year (Rule 5.1).  These are general rules and there are of course some exceptions.  The month of July continues to count for calculating the time for filing records, factums and books of authorities on appeal (Rules 35-37), motions for leave to intervene (Rule 56(b)) and when calculating the time for service of a notice of constitutional question (Rule 61(2)).  The period from December 21st to January 7th continues to count for calculating the deadline for service and filing of a motion to state a constitutional question (rule 60(1)) and if otherwise directed by the Court, a judge or the Registrar.

You’ve read the Rules and are still unsure whether you’ve calculated your deadline for service and filing correctly?  Speak to your Supreme Court of Canada Agent early to confirm you have calculated your deadline correctly and avoid the hassle of filing late.


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