Frequently Asked Questions

This information is intended to give you basic information and explain the procedure in the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal. It is not intended to give you legal advice. Registry staff at the Court of Appeal will do as much as they can to help you but they are not allowed to give you legal advice.

  1. What is the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal?
  2. What can the Court of Appeal do with the decision appealed?
  3. How can I contact the Court of Appeal?
  4. Where is the Court of Appeal located?
  5. What are your hours of operation?
  6. What is the Registry?
  7. Are Court of Appeal hearings open to the public?
  8. How is the Court of Appeal Structured?
  9. Who are the judges of the Court of Appeal?
  10. What are the Judges called?
  11. What do people wear in the Court of Appeal?
  12. Can every case be appealed?
  13. Who can start an appeal?
  14. Is there a time limit on appealing?
  15. Can an appeal be filed after the time limit expires?
  16. If my filing deadline falls on a statutory holiday or weekend, what should I do?
  17. Can I represent myself or must I hire a lawyer to appear before the Court of Appeal?
  18. What if I don’t know which lawyer to hire or cannot afford to hire a lawyer?
  19. How much does it cost to file an appeal?
  20. What methods of payment are accepted by the Court of Appeal?
  21. How do you start an appeal?
  22. What documents are needed for an appeal?
  23. How do I order a transcript?
  24. When will the appeal be heard?
  25. What happens in a Court of Appeal hearing?
  26. When does the Court of Appeal make its decision in a case?
  27. Are there costs if I lose my case?
  28. Can I appeal a Court of Appeal decision?


1. What is the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal?

The Court of Appeal is the highest court in the province. Only a few cases from Newfoundland and Labrador are heard each year by the Supreme Court of Canada, so the Court of Appeal is the court of last resort for most cases in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Court of Appeal hears appeals from decisions of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Trial Division, decisions of the Unified Family Court, some decisions of the Provincial Court and decisions of certain administrative tribunals.

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2. What can the Court of Appeal do with the decision appealed?

An appeal is not a rehearing of a case. An appeal is different from a trial. In an appeal, the person who lost in the lower court argues the judge made a mistake. For example, the judge in the lower court may have used the wrong law. You should identify the mistake you think the judge made. This is very important. The Justices of the Court of Appeal cannot change another judge’s decision just because they disagree with it. The lower court is entitled to hear the evidence and come to its own decision. The Court of Appeal can only change that decision if the lower court made a mistake as to the law or misunderstood important evidence.

The Court of Appeal can dismiss the appeal (i.e. find in favour of the Respondent); allow the appeal (i.e. find in favour of the Appellant) and order a new trial; or allow the appeal and change the order of the lower court.

Through its judgments the Court of Appeal also clarifies the law and develops consistent legal principles to be applied in all cases in the other courts of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

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3. How can I contact the Court of Appeal?

You can contact the Court of Appeal at:

http://www.court.nl.ca/supreme/appeal/contact.html

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4. Where is the Court of Appeal located?

The Court of Appeal is located at 287 Duckworth Street, St. John’s, NL. The Court of Appeal only sits in St. John’s.

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5. What are your hours of operation?

The Registry office hours are: 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday to Friday.
Summer hours (mid-June to mid-September): 9:00am – 4:30 pm Monday to Friday.

The registry is closed for lunch between 1:00pm – 2:00pm Monday to Friday.
The registry is closed on all statutory holidays.

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6. What is the Registry?

The Registry is the public office of the Court and is located on the first floor of the Court of Appeal. It is where you go to file court documents, such as the Notice of Appeal. Registry staff carry out the day-to-day administration of the court in such areas as scheduling and monitoring the flow of documents required for appeals. They organize case files and documents and attend court of appeal hearings, call the court to order and ensure that the proceedings are recorded.

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7. Are Court of Appeal hearings open to the public?

Yes, as a general rule, Court of Appeal hearings are open to the public.

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8. How is the Court of Appeal Structured?

The Court of Appeal consists of the Chief Justice of Newfoundland and Labrador (who is also the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal) and five (5) other judges. Semi-retired (supernumerary) judges may also form part of the Court of Appeal at any given time. Court of Appeal judges do not sit on any other court, and they do not sit on any cases that come before them on appeal if they have had any involvement with the case or the parties prior to the appeal being taken, or are in conflict for any other reason. They usually sit in panels of three judges to hear appeals.

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9. Who are the judges of the Court of Appeal?

  • Chief Justice J. Derek Green
  • Justice B. Gale Welsh
  • Justice Malcolm H. Rowe
  • Justice Leo D. Barry
  • Justice Charles W. White
  • Justice Michael F. Harrington
  • Justice Lois R. Hoegg

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10. What are the Judges called?

The judges’ title, male or female, is “Justice” (for example: Justice Jane Doe, Justice John Doe). During the proceedings the judges may be addressed as “Chief Justice, Mister Justice or Madam Justice….” Although the Court has expressed a preference for this form of address, some counsel continue to use the traditional form of “My Lord” and “My Lady”, or “Your Lordship” and “Your Ladyship”.

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11. What do people wear in the Court of Appeal?

The Court of Appeal judges, the Court Clerk and lawyers wear black gowns over striped trousers or skirts, black waistcoat and a wing collar white shirt, with white bands (sometimes called tabs) instead of a necktie, for all court appearances in the Court of Appeal. No particular dress is required for members of the public. Persons attending appeal proceedings should be dressed as they would dress to attend any public function.

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12. Can every case be appealed?

You do not have an automatic right to appeal to the Court of Appeal in every case. It depends on the kind of case. As a general rule, the Court of Appeal will hear an appeal from any decision of the Trial Division or Family Division. However, the Respondent may object to and the Court may refuse to hear an appeal of an uncompleted matter, which is a matter that may affect the manner of conducting the trial or an issue in the case, but does not decide the final outcome.

The Court will also hear appeals from some decisions of the Provincial Court. Not all appeals from decisions of the Provincial Court come directly to the Court of Appeal. Summary conviction appeals, for example, are usually appealed to the Trial Division. If one of the parties is still dissatisfied after the appeal is heard in the Trial Division, that party may, with leave of the Court, appeal that decision to the Court of Appeal.

In some special cases, the Court of Appeal will hear appeals from a decision of a public authority or administrative tribunal, such as the Public Utilities Board. In most cases, however, decisions of public authorities or administrative tribunals are reviewed by a judge of the Trial Division. The trial judge’s decision may then be appealed further to the Court of Appeal.

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13. Who can start an appeal?

Any party dissatisfied with the decision of a court or administrative tribunal from which this Court hears appeals may appeal that decision. The person who brings the proceeding to the Court of Appeal is called the Appellant. The Appellant appeals the decision of a lower court or tribunal. The party against whom an appeal is brought and who must respond to the Appellant’s case is called the Respondent.

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14. Is there a time limit on appealing?

Yes. Appellants must appeal within 30 days after the lower court releases its decision. Appeals from a decision in an uncompleted matter (i.e. an order made during the course of a trial or hearing), must be filed within ten days from the date of the order.

The time limit for appealing a decision from a provincial board or tribunal can be much shorter than 30 days. If you are appealing a decision from a provincial board or tribunal, please check the appropriate statute or Act that governs the board or tribunal you are appealing from to find the applicable time limit.

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15. Can an appeal be filed after the time limit expires?

Anyone who, for good reason, requires an extension of time for filing the Notice of Appeal must convince a judge of the Court of Appeal to extend the time by filing an application for an extension of time with the Court of Appeal. You must file an affidavit in support of your application. The affidavit must set out the reasons why the appeal was not filed during the specified appeal period.

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16. If my filing deadline falls on a statutory holiday or weekend, what should I do?

You may file your document on the next business day.

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17. Can I represent myself or must I hire a lawyer to appear before the Court of Appeal?

You may represent yourself at the Court of Appeal but it is not recommended. The process of appealing a decision can be complex. The issues on an appeal are usually questions of law. People considering appealing a decision to the Court of Appeal are encouraged to seek legal advice. It is recommended that you consult with a lawyer about your rights and the remedies available to you.

Please Note: You cannot have another person who is not a lawyer speak on your behalf, unless you obtain leave (i.e. permission) of the Court.

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18. What if I don’t know which lawyer to hire or cannot afford to hire a lawyer?

You may contact the following organizations for assistance:

Legal Aid Commission

251 Empire Avenue
St. John's, NL  A1C 3H9
Telephone: (709) 753-7860
Toll-free: 1-800-563-9911
Facsimile: (709) 753-6226

Regional Office Telephone Numbers:

St. John's (709) 753-7860
Carbonear (709) 596-7835
Clarenville (709) 466-7138
Marystown (709) 279-3068
Gander (709) 256-3991
Grand Falls-Windsor (709) 489-9081
Corner Brook (709) 639-9226
Stephenville (709) 643-5200
Happy Valley-Goose Bay (709) 896-5323

Public Legal Information Association of Newfoundland

Suite 101, Fortis Building
139 Water Street
St. John’s, NL A1C 1B2
Telephone: (709) 722-2643
Facsimile: (709) 722-0054
E-mail: info@publiclegalinfo.com
Website: www.publiclegalinfo.com opens new window

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19. How much does it cost to file an appeal?

In addition to any legal fees you may pay, the most common court fees are as follows:

Criminal Notice of Appeal No fee
Civil Notice of Appeal $60.00
Civil Notice of Cross-Appeal $60.00
Order (civil) $30.00
Certified copy $30.00
Tapes or CDs of the appeal hearing $20.00
Search $10.00
Photocopies $0.25 per page

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20. What methods of payment are accepted by the Court of Appeal?

The Registry of the Court of Appeal accepts cheques payable to: Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

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21. How do you start an appeal?

The Appellant must first notify the Court of Appeal by filing four (4) copies of the Notice of Appeal PDf, or, in any case where leave to appeal is required, a Notice of Application for Leave to Appeal, with the Registry of the Court of Appeal. The Appellant must also send a letter to the court appealed from requesting a copy of the record of the matter at trial. A copy of that letter must be filed with the Registry of the Court of Appeal. Any required fees must be paid at this time. The Appellant then serves a copy of the Notice of Appeal on the Respondent(s). The next documents to be filed with the Court of Appeal are the appeal book and factum. Please see the Criminal Appeal Rules opens new window or the Civil Appeal Rules for time limits on filing appeal books and factums.

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22. What documents are needed for an appeal?

The Civil Appeal Rules, the Criminal Appeal Rules opens new window and the Practice Notes set out the requirements and time limits for the documents that must be filed. Please refer to the Practice Notes and Rules for detailed information on the required content and format for each document listed below.

(1) Notice of Appeal / Notice of Application for Leave to Appeal

In most cases the Notice of Appeal PDF will start the appeal process. In any case where leave to appeal is required, a Notice of Application for Leave to Appeal will start the appeal process. Four (4) copies of the Notice of Appeal or the Notice of Application for Leave to Appeal must be filed with the Court. The Appellant must also serve the Respondent or the other party with a copy of Notice of Appeal or Notice of Application for Leave to Appeal.

Appeals are reviews of lower court decisions, so the Appellant must file, with the Notice of Appeal or Notice of Application for Leave to Appeal, proof that a transcript of evidence at trial has been ordered.

(2) Appeal Book

The Appellant must prepare at least six (6) copies of the Appeal Book. Four (4) copies of the Appeal Book must be filed with the Court of Appeal, one (1) copy must be served on the Respondent and one (1) copy is retained by the Appellant for his or her own use.

The Appeal Book contains the documents that were filed in the lower court and are relevant in the appeal, such as: the judgment and reasons for decision of the lower court, motions, affidavits, orders, copies of the exhibits filed, an index of witnesses at the trial, the original pleadings, a typed transcript of the trial or hearing, and a copy of the Notice of Appeal. Please see Civil Appeal Rule 52 or the Criminal Appeal Rule 13 opens new window for complete information on the requirements, and time limits, for filing an appeal book.

(3) Factum

The Appellant and the Respondent must each prepare at least six (6) copies of their own factum. Four (4) copies of each factum must be filed with the Court of Appeal, one (1) copy must be served on the other party and one (1) copy is retained by the party filing the factum for his or her own use.

The factum contains four (4) parts:

  1. a summary of the facts that relate to the issues on appeal;
  2. a list of issues in the appeal;
  3. argument; and
  4. order or relief sought

Please see the Civil Appeal Rules and the Criminal Appeal Rules opens new window for further information on the requirements and time limits for filing a factum.

(4) Book of Authorities

If the Appellant and/or the Respondent have only a few authorities (i.e. relevant case law or legislation) those authorities, with an index, may be included in the factum. The Appellant and the Respondent may instead file a book of authorities containing an index and copies of other legal cases that are relevant to the issues on the appeal. At least six (6) copies of the book of authorities are required. Four (4) copies must be filed with the Court of Appeal, one (1) copy must be served on the other party and one (1) copy is kept by the party filing the book of authorities for his or her own use.

(5) Transcript

If your case involves oral evidence (testimony given by witnesses at trial), a complete transcript may be ordered but you should not file the complete transcript with the Court unless it is necessary to refer to the complete transcript to determine the issues on appeal. For those cases in which no oral evidence was given, the applicant or Appellant must order the lower court judge’s reasons or the reasons of the board or tribunal and include these in the Appeal Book.

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23. How do I order a transcript?

If you are represented by a lawyer your lawyer will order the transcripts for you. If you are representing yourself in a criminal matter, an appeal against conviction or an appeal against sentence, the Crown will order the transcript. If you are representing yourself in a civil matter, to obtain a transcript you must write the Court Reporter’s Office to request a copy of the CD recording of your hearing and then have the CD recording transcribed by an approved transcription agency. Once complete, the transcript must be filed with the Court of Appeal.

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24. When will the appeal be heard?

Once the Court of Appeal receives the transcript of the lower court, the appeal book and the Appellant’s factum, and the time limited for the Respondent to file a factum has expired, (see Civil Appeal Rule 19 and Criminal Appeal Rule 17(3)) opens new window the Appellant or any other party to an appeal who has filed a factum may file an application or request with the registry, verifying the matter is ready for hearing and seeking a date for the hearing of the appeal. The registry will provide the applicant with a date and time at which its application for a date for the appeal will be heard.
Click here for Court of Appeal Sitting Schedule.

Once the registry has provided this hearing date, the applicant (i.e. the party that brought the application for a hearing date) must serve copies of the application on the other party, not less than four (4) clear days before the date on which the application is to be heard by the Court. In calculating four (4) clear days the applicant must not count the day of the hearing, Saturdays, Sundays or statutory holidays.

On the day the application for a date is heard, the Appellant and the Respondent will appear before the Chief Justice at the Court of Appeal building, 287 Duckworth Street to request a date for the hearing of the appeal. The Chief Justice or another judge if the Chief Justice is not available will set a date and time for the appeal to be heard.

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25. What happens in a Court of Appeal hearing?

The procedure in an appeal hearing is different from a trial. Normally, three judges sit on an appeal, and most appeals last only a few hours. The Court of Appeal does not hear witnesses. There are no juries. New evidence (i.e. information that was not presented in the lower court hearing) is rarely considered by the Court of Appeal. You need leave (i.e. permission) from the Court to introduce new evidence.

The Judges are familiar with the appeal before they enter the Courtroom. They have read the summary of facts and the written arguments outlined in the factum filed by each of the Appellant and the Respondent, and they have reviewed the record of the lower court proceedings as contained in the Appeal Book.

To commence the hearing the Court clerk calls the court to order. The Appellant speaks first. The Appellant sets out his or her legal argument, which is based on the factum that was filed earlier with the court. When the Appellant is finished, the Respondent does the same. The judges will ask the Appellant and the Respondent questions as they present their case. At the end of the hearing the Court Clerk or a Sherriff’s Officer will close or adjourn court.

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26. When does the Court of Appeal make its decision in a case?

The Court of Appeal may give its decision orally in court shortly after the Appellant and the Respondent have presented their cases. Often the court will reserve its decision and issue a written judgment at a later date.

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27. Are there costs if I lose my case?

If your appeal is dismissed, the Court of Appeal may assess costs against you.

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28. Can I appeal a Court of Appeal decision?

Yes, in some cases an appeal can be taken to the Supreme Court of Canada, in Ottawa. In some of the most serious criminal cases a party has an automatic right to appeal; however, in most cases leave (i.e. permission) to appeal must be granted by the Supreme Court of Canada or by the Court of Appeal (but the Court of Appeal rarely will grant such leave). Only a few cases from this province are heard each year by the Supreme Court of Canada opens new window.

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