The Appeal Process in the Supreme Court of Canada

Flowchart of the appeal process

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The first source of cases is applications for leave to appeal. An application for leave is filed, then submitted to the Judges for decision. If the application is dismissed, a formal judgment is signed. If the application is granted, the appeal will be heard. The Court can then either render a decision from the bench, in which case a formal judgment is signed, or it can reserve judgment, to be rendered at a later date. The case ends when the formal judgment is signed.

The second sources of cases is appeals as of right. These proceed directly to an appeal hearing. The Court can either render a decision from the bench, in which case a formal judgment is signed, or it can reserve judgment, to be rendered at a later date. The case ends when the formal judgment is signed.

The third source of cases is federal references, in which the Governor in Council refers constitutional or other questions to the Supreme Court for opinion. These proceed directly to a hearing. The Court can either give its opinion from the bench, in which case a formal judgment is signed, or it can reserve judgment and the opinion will be given at a later date. The case ends when the formal judgment is signed.


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