What's New

Welcome to the "What's New?" section of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal website. This section will include information bulletins, links to news releases, event notices, new publications, speeches, photos and other items.

Mr. Justice Malcolm Rowe Appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada

Mr. Justice Malcolm Rowe has been appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada on October 28, 2016.

Media Release

Court of Appeal Legal Information Session

Court to hold event to promote access to and understanding of its process

St. John’s, NL, October 14, 2016:  On October 20, 2016 the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador – Court of Appeal will hold a legal information session for the public. It will run from 7-10 p.m. at the Main Courthouse in downtown St. John’s, 309 Duckworth Street.

 The event is open not just to those who have cases before the Court, but to any members of the public who are interested in the law, the legal process or wish to expand their knowledge about the legal system.

 The information session is intended to promote access to and understanding of the Court’s process. It will take place just 3 days after new Court of Appeal Rules, which govern the Court’s civil appeal process, come into force. It will feature a talk about the courts of Newfoundland and Labrador by the Chief Justice of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Hon. J. Derek Green, as well as presentations about the appeal process and a tour of the courthouse.

 Legal organizations in the province including the Legal Aid Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Canadian Bar Association, Newfoundland and Labrador branch, the Public Legal Information Association of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador will also have representatives at the event and will provide information and answer questions by the public.

 There is no charge for the event. For more information, please visit the Court’s website at http://court.nl.ca/supreme/appeal/news.html.

New Court of Appeal Rules Published

Check out the new Court of Appeal Rules, Forms, and Scale of Costs published on July 29th, 2016 in the NL Gazette!  The new Rules will become effective October 17, 2016.

Court of Appeal Legal Assistance Clinic

The Court of Appeal is launching the Court of Appeal Legal Assistance Clinic, a  project intended to offer assistance to litigants without a lawyer who wish to have some legal advice about their appeal.  The Clinic will be located at the Supreme Court, General Division, 309 Duckworth Street, St. John's and offer an initial free 30 minute appointment with volunteer lawyers who practice in Newfoundland and Labrador.  Depending on the nature of the issues involved and the needs that are identified, further assistance may be available.

The next Clinic will take place on Thursday, April 20, 2017 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM and several 30 minute appointments are available on a first-come first-served basis.  If you would like some free legal advice on any issue connected to your appeal, please make an appointment by sending an email to calac@supreme.court.nl.ca.  See the following links for further information:


Review of Rules of Court

The Court of Appeal rules committee determined that the 1986 Civil Rules of Court applying to this Court require revision. It was also decided that the time had come to separate the rules applicable to this Court from the Trial Division rules. In addition to simplifying the rules, there are some changes to procedure intended to streamline the process and reduce costs to litigants.

The rules will be accompanied by several forms (not yet completed) together with guidelines to assist in using the rules.

Questions, suggestions, concerns, omissions, etc. should be forwarded by email to CourtofAppealInquiries@supreme.court.nl.ca

In order to facilitate timely completion of the new rules by the rules committee, we ask that you provide any comments no later than Thursday, March 24, 2016.

Media Release

Court of Appeal Announces Wireless Guest Access
Wireless services now available at the Court of Appeal

St. John’s, NL, April 22, 2015: The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador – Court of Appeal announced today that the Court will now offer complimentary wireless services to any individual with a business purpose at the Court.

The wireless services are part of the Court’s many efforts to use modern technology to facilitate proceedings and to improve access to justice. They are connected with the Supreme Court’s Information Technology Strategy, which was released in February 2014. “Having the right tools to do a good job is important. The Court welcomes any technology that could help lawyers and litigants advance their hearings,” said Chief Justice Derek Green of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Sometimes a new issue comes up in the course of a hearing. In the past, lawyers and litigants had to return to their homes or offices to research or find missing materials. Now, with wireless access, they will be able to do this from the courtroom,” Chief Justice Green noted.

Minister of Justice and Public Safety, Darin King, applauded the Court of Appeal on advancing the use of modern technology and in so doing, assisting lawyers and parties in the presentation of their case.

Kathy Blake, Deputy Registrar of the Court of Appeal, said that “the Court is grateful to the Office of the Chief Information Officer of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for providing and maintaining this new wireless network.”

Anyone with business at the Court can apply to the Court’s Registry before their hearing for access to the wireless network. Login information will be provided after users agree to the Court’s Wireless Guest Access & Electronic Devices Policy and the Office of the Chief Information Officer’s Terms of Service.

The Court welcomes you to read its new Wireless and Electronic Devices Policy.

Media Release

Court of Appeal Launches Twitter Accounts
Accounts to inform public of hearings, decisions, rules changes, and news

St. John’s, NL, February 16, 2014:  The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador – Court of Appeal announced today that the Court will be launching four Twitter accounts.

The accounts will promote access to justice and public understanding of the legal system. Members of the public or the legal profession will be able to follow them to receive updates about upcoming hearings, recent decisions, rules changes, or news.
 
Joining Twitter is part of an overall effort to modernize the Court’s operations. Other steps have included the recent public decisions database, the Court Rules Project, and the Court’s information technology strategy.

“The Court is interested in any tools that might help make justice more transparent and accessible,” said Derek Green, Chief Justice of Newfoundland and Labrador.

“The Court’s doors are open and its decisions are public,” Chief Justice Green noted. “But it’s difficult to know which hearing to attend or which decision to read. Twitter supplements the traditional aspects of accessibility with real-time information about today’s decision or tomorrow’s hearing.”

The Minister of Justice and Public Safety, Judy Manning, acknowledged that the Court’s use of social media will promote access to justice and will bring information on matters before the Court of Appeal to a greater number of our citizens.
 
Kathy Blake, Deputy Registrar of the Court of Appeal, commented that “the Court’s Twitter accounts will allow members of the public and the legal profession to choose what they want to follow—upcoming hearings, recent decisions, rules changes, or other Court news.”

Follow @nlcadocket for information about upcoming hearings, @nlcadecisions for recent decisions, @nlcarules for rules and policy updates, and @nlcaupdates for other news.

 

Media Release

Court of Appeal Announces New Website Launch
Searchable database to publish Court of Appeal decisions

St. John’s, NL, February 9, 2014:  The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador – Court of Appeal announced today that the Court’s website will now host a searchable database of decisions by the Court of Appeal.

The database is part of the Court’s many efforts to increase access to justice and is one of the initiatives of the Supreme Court’s Information Technology Strategy, which was released in February 2014.  The online searchable database is also one of many steps that the Court is taking to implement Justice Cromwell’s 2013 Report – Access to Civil and Family Justice.  “The Court continues to improve its services. It continues to become more transparent and accessible,” said Chief Justice Derek Green of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Access to justice at the Court of Appeal can be difficult because appeals are based on legal arguments. Self-represented litigants can struggle with this. Our database will help self-represented litigants research the Court’s case law to prepare for their appeals – and perhaps help them prepare their cases before an appeal is necessary,” Chief Justice Green noted.

Judy Manning, Minister of Justice and Public Safety, acknowledged the work that the Supreme Court is doing to become more open and transparent and offers her congratulations to those involved in making access to justice advances through the use of technology.

Kathy Blake, Deputy Registrar of the Court of Appeal, commented that “this database will also allow the public and members of the legal community to keep abreast of legal developments from our Court.”

The database currently includes all decided cases from 2009 to the present except some decisions with publication ban concerns. Older decisions and redacted publication ban decisions will be available on the Court’s database in due course. In the meantime, the Court is directing researchers and the public to other online sources for these cases.

The Court welcomes you to visit its new database at http://court.nl.ca/supreme/appeal/decisions.html.

 

Cheques and Money Orders

Effective immediately, cheques and money orders remitted to the Supreme Court must be made payable to “Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador”. Cheques and money orders payable otherwise will be returned for correction. If you have questions, please contact the court house in your area.

 

Rules of Court Project

Please see the following Notice to the Profession announcing the new Rules of Court Project.

 

NOTICE TO THE PROFESSION

 

Rules of Court Project

 

Civil proceedings in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador are governed by the Rules of the Supreme Court, 1986 (the “Rules”) which apply to both the Trial Division and the Court of Appeal. Since their introduction in 1986 the legal landscape in Newfoundland and Labrador has transformed dramatically. The numbers of cases being heard are decreasing and of those being heard more cases, especially those involving family law, have litigants who represent themselves. The nature of the legal business also appears to be changing. Fewer cases in the commercial, business and tort areas are being heard. These developments may be related to the complexity of the procedures that must be followed, leading to unacceptably high costs. In addition, more litigants in the commercial and insurance spheres appear to be resorting to alternative dispute resolution procedures outside the court system so as to reduce costs or to have greater control over their choice of adjudicator.

From time to time, both Courts receive complaints from members of the bar and from self-represented litigants that the rules of procedure are, variously, too cumbersome, unnecessarily complex and written in language that could be more intelligible. These complaints mirror criticisms in other parts of the country which have led to reforms elsewhere. It has been suggested that the rules contribute to unnecessarily high costs of litigation and can constitute a barrier to access to justice.

Another criticism that is sometimes leveled at the rules of procedure is that they do not recognize or encourage the use of modern technology in the court system. Such technology has the potential to provide court services at lower cost to litigants. While some inroads have been made on this front, many other opportunities remain to be tapped.

While ad hoc rule revisions are always being undertaken by the two Courts to attempt to address these issues, these trends make a strong case for a comprehensive updating of the rules of procedure in both the Trial Division and the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador is therefore undertaking a comprehensive review of its procedural rules. This review will be done through two separate, but related, programs; one will address the rules of procedure in the Trial Division and the other the rules of procedure in the Court of Appeal. The structure of this work, involving two separate programs under the umbrella of one “Rules of Court Project”, recognizes the distinctiveness and the different needs, functions and procedures of the two divisions of the Supreme Court.

In completing this project, the two Courts will reach out to members of the profession at various times for input and feedback so that this group has a voice in the reform. While consultation on specific matters will follow, at this time we ask that if you have general suggestions or concerns with respect to the rules and procedures in the Court of Appeal that you communicate these to the Legal Officer of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal (michaelcollins@supreme.court.nl.ca / 729-0254).

 

J. DEREK GREEN

Chief Justice of

Newfoundland and Labrador

 

 RAYMOND P. WHALEN

Chief Justice of the Trial Division