Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What is the role of the Supreme Court of Canada?
  2. What is the Court's contact information?
  3. Can we visit the Supreme Court Building?
  4. During our visit to the Supreme Court, would it be possible to take pictures of various parts of the Court building?
  5. What are the Court's opening hours?
  6. Are hearings open to the public?
  7. Are Supreme Court proceedings televised or Webcast and and how can I obtain a copy of a hearing transcript and/or video?
  8. How many judges sit on the Supreme Court of Canada? What are their names?
  9. How many judges are assigned to hear an appeal?
  10. How does one address a judge?
  11. What is the annual salary of a Supreme Court Judge?
  12. How are judges chosen for the Supreme Court of Canada?
  13. How do I file a complaint against a judge?
  14. How is a case brought before the Supreme Court of Canada?
  15. Where can I find information for self-represented litigants at the Supreme Court of Canada?
  16. Can Supreme Court of Canada staff answer any legal questions I may have?
  17. What do these expressions mean?
  18. Do I need a lawyer to prepare and file documents in the Supreme Court of Canada?
  19. What are the deadlines for filing documents?
  20. How do I calculate times for serving and filing my documents?
  21. Do I need to file paper copies of documents?
  22. How do I file paper copies?
  23. How do I file documents for use at hearings?
  24. Is an electronically commissioned affidavit accepted for filing?
  25. How do I provide proof of service?
  26. How do I pay the filing fees?
  27. What are the guidelines for filing electronic documents?
  28. How do I file electronic documents related to an application for leave to appeal, a motion or an appeal?
  29. How can I find out if a judgment from a Court of Appeal is being challenged?
  30. How do I find out the status of a case?
  31. When can I expect to learn of the Court's decision in a leave application or an appeal?
  32. Can I be notified when a Supreme Court of Canada decision is rendered?
  33. Which counsel’s names will be recorded in the published reasons for judgment?
  34. How do I obtain a copy of a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada or a subscription to the Canada Supreme Court Reports?
  35. When did SCC judgments become available on the Internet?
  36. Is there a difference between the print and digital versions of Supreme Court of Canada decisions?
  37. Can I find a bilingual copy of a Supreme Court of Canada decision?
  38. Can I access Supreme Court of Canada court records on line?
  39. Can I obtain photographs of judges of the Supreme Court of Canada or of the Supreme Court of Canada building for the purposes of publication?
  40. I would like to make my opinion known on a pending case. How can I participate?
  41. Why can't I connect to the Supreme Court's library catalogue?
  42. Is your library's catalogue Z39.50 compliant? How can I connect to it?
  43. Where can I look for employment opportunities with the Supreme Court of Canada?
  44. How can a person be considered for a position as a law clerk/student articling position?
  45. Where can I obtain information on a divorce granted in Canada?
  46. I was born in Canada. How can I get a copy of my birth certificate?
  47. Is the Supreme Court of Canada Website designed to apply the Standard on Web Accessibility?
  48. Where may I obtain information about the Supreme Court of Canada in a language other than English or French?
  49. Where may I obtain information about the Supreme Court of Canada in braille?
  50. What to do if I receive a fraudulent telephone call or a fraudulent email appearing to be from Supreme Court of Canada?

1. What is the role of the Supreme Court of Canada?

The Supreme Court of Canada is the court of last resort (or the highest court) in Canada. As the final general court of appeal it is the last judicial resort of all litigants. Its jurisdiction embraces both the civil law of the province of Quebec and the common law of the other nine provinces and three territories. As it is a general court of appeal, the Supreme Court of Canada can hear cases in all areas of the law.

2. What is the Court's contact information?

Address
Supreme Court of Canada
301 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0J1


Telephone
: 613-995-4330 or 1-888-551-1185
Fax: 613-996-3063
Teletyperwriter: 613-947-3757
Emailreception@scc-csc.ca

3. Can we visit the Supreme Court Building?

Yes. Please see the Guided Tours page for all the details.

Getting to the Court.

4. During our visit to the Supreme Court, would it be possible to take pictures of various parts of the Court building?

Yes, it is possible to take pictures of the public areas such as the main lobby and the courtroom when the Court is not sitting.

Photographs that you take can be used only for personal or educational purposes.  They cannot be used for commercial or promotional purposes unless permission for such use is first obtained from the Deputy Registrar by sending a request to that effect by email at reception@scc-csc.careception@scc-csc.ca.

5. What are the Court's opening hours?

The Court is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., ET, Monday to Friday (except holidays).

  • The Registry of the Court is open Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Starting in October 2022, individuals who wish to conduct business in person at the Registry will be required to request permission to access the SCC building via email to bookingregistry-reservationgreffe@scc-csc.ca.
  • Library hours of service are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. Individuals must apply for access in advance of their visit by email to library@scc-csc.ca. Please consult the Policies on Library Use.

6. Are hearings open to the public?

Yes, but public seating is limited in the courtroom so you must reserve a seat in advance. Please send an e-mail to the Registry at bookingregistry-reservationgreffe@scc-csc.ca. Please note requests cannot be submitted on behalf of other individuals. 

If we cannot reserve a space for you in the courtroom, we will let you know. 

The Supreme Court Building is open to the public on sitting days, and visitors may view the hearing on screens located in the main hall. 

All hearings will be livestreamed on the Court’s website. Check the Court's list of scheduled hearings for dates and times of hearings.

7. Are Supreme Court proceedings televised or Webcast and how can I obtain a copy of a hearing transcript and/or video?

Most courtroom proceedings are Webcast live and are later televised by the Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC). CPAC posts its schedule at its site. To obtain a copy of a transcript for personal use, contact the Records Centre either by email at records-dossiers@scc-csc.ca or by telephone at 613-996-7933 or at 1-888-551-1185. Webcasts and audio files of Supreme Court of Canada proceedings may not be broadcast, rebroadcast, transmitted, communicated to the public by telecommunication, or otherwise be made available in whole or in part in any form or by any means, electronic or otherwise, except in accordance with the Copyright Act or with the written authorization of the Court. To request permission to use such material or to request a copy on DVD, please fill out the on-line Request to Use Court Photographs, Webcasts or Audio/Video Recordings. Live and archived Webcasts of appeal hearings are available on the Court Website.

8. How many judges sit on the Supreme Court of Canada? What are their names?

The Supreme Court of Canada consists of nine judges, including the Chief Justice of Canada. Their names are:

9. How many judges are assigned to hear an appeal?

On appeals, the minimum number of judges is five though more often seven or nine judges hear a case.

10. How does one address a judge?

At the hearing, counsel may use either "Justice", "Mr. Justice" or "Madam Justice," when addressing the members of the panel hearing the appeal. Counsel are asked to refrain from addressing the judges as "My Lord", "My Lady", "Your Lordship," or "Your Ladyship."

In writing, the Chief Justice is addressed as "The Right Honourable" and the other judges are addressed as "The Honourable Madame Justice" or as "The Honourable Mr. Justice".

11. What is the annual salary of a Supreme Court Judge?

Visit the Remuneration section on the Office of the Commisioner for Federal Judicial Affairs Canada Website.

12. How are judges chosen for the Supreme Court of Canada?

The Supreme Court of Canada consists of nine judges, including the Chief Justice of Canada, who are appointed by the Governor in Council and all of whom must have been either a judge of a superior court or a member of at least ten years' standing of the bar of a province or territory. A Judge holds office during good behaviour, until he or she retires or attains the age of 75 years, but is removable for incapacity or misconduct in office before that time by the Governor General on address of the Senate and House of Commons. Of the nine, the Supreme Court Act requires that three be appointed from Quebec. Traditionally, the Governor in Council has appointed three judges from Ontario, two from the Western provinces or Northern Canada and one from the Atlantic provinces.

13. How do I file a complaint against a judge?

You must first determine whether your complaint is about a decision of a judge or the conduct of a judge. If it is about the decision of a judge, contact a lawyer, legal aid office or community legal clinic to determine whether or not you might be able to appeal the decision. A Faculty of Law at a nearby University may also have a program to provide legal assistance.

If you have a complaint about the conduct of a Supreme Court of Canada judge, you should write to the Canadian Judicial Council, Suite 450, 112 Kent Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0W8, fax 613-998-8889 providing the details of the conduct which is of concern to you. For additional information visit the Canadian Judicial Council Web site.

If the complaint is about the conduct (but not a decision) of a judge from another court, contact the court staff, where the judge sits, in order to determine whether you should bring your complaint to the Canadian Judicial Council or to provincial or territorial officials.

14. How is a case brought before the Supreme Court of Canada?

In most cases, appeals are heard by the Court only if leave to appeal is given. Such leave, or permission, will be given by the Court when a case involves a question of public importance.

There are cases, however, where leave is not required. In criminal cases, there is an automatic right of appeal where an acquittal has been set aside in the provincial court of appeal or where one judge in the provincial court of appeal dissents on a question of law. In addition, the Supreme Court of Canada has a special kind of "Reference" jurisdiction, original in character, given by s. 53 of the Supreme Court Act. The Governor in Council (federal government) may refer to the Court, for its opinion, constitutional or other questions.

15. Where can I find information for self-represented litigants at the Supreme Court of Canada?

You can access such information at the Resources for Self-Represented Litigants portal. This portal provides information and instructions on what is expected of you when you want to bring your own application for leave to appeal or when you have been named as a respondent on an application for leave to appeal.

16. Can Supreme Court of Canada staff answer any legal questions I may have?

Our office is not allowed to provide legal advice. You should contact a lawyer, Legal Aid Office in your area or a community legal clinic for advice.

17. What do these expressions mean?

Appeal:
When a higher court reviews a decision made by a judge or judges of a lower court.
Appeal allowed:
The court has decided in favour of the appellant (party bringing the appeal).
Appeal as of right:
The automatic right to have a case heard by the Supreme Court in some criminal cases where one judge on the court of appeal has dissented on a point of law. This means the appellant does not need to apply to the Court for permission to have their case heard. The case can be heard if the appellant simply files a notice to this effect.
Appeal dismissed:
The court has decided in favour of the respondent (party against whom the appeal is brought).
Application for leave to appeal:
The request made by a party for the Supreme Court to hear their case. The Court grants leave, meaning it agrees to hear the case, when a case involves a question of public importance.
Coram:
The panel of judges who heard the case.
Factum:
A document submitted by parties and interveners. It contains, among other things, a statement of facts, questions in issue and legal arguments.
Intervener:
People or groups who get permission from the court to provide context on legal questions, although the case does not affect them directly. Interveners offer judges different perspectives to consider when making their decisions.
Judgment:
The decision of the court.
Judgment reserved:
The decision of the court has not been given at the hearing. It will be given at a later date.
Jurisprudence:
All of the decisions made by courts in Canada. When interpreting the law, judges consult previous decisions to see how it has been interpreted.
Memorandum of Argument on Application for Leave to Appeal:
Part of the application for leave to appeal, the response or the reply filed by parties to an application for leave to appeal. These memorandums on leave set out the facts, the questions in issue and legal arguments.
Motion:
A formal request to a judge, the court or the registrar to take some action, e.g. to extend the time to serve and file an application for leave to appeal.
References:
Requests by the federal, provincial and territorial governments for the Supreme Court’s advisory legal opinion. Reference cases often ask if a proposed or existing legislation is constitutional.
Party/Parties:
The appellant(s), respondent(s) and intervener(s) to any appeal before the court.
Transcript:
A written copy of the oral proceedings of the court.

18. Do I need a lawyer to prepare and file documents in the Supreme Court of Canada?

Although you may represent yourself at the Supreme Court of Canada, we recommend that you retain a lawyer because the procedures are complex. If you are not a lawyer, you may only represent yourself.

19. What are the deadlines for filing documents?

For documents required at the various stages of an application for leave to appeal or of an appeal, or in respect of a motion to a judge or the Registrar or to the Court, see the time limits for filing documents.

20. How do I calculate times for serving and filing my documents?

In order to properly calculate deadlines as set out in the Rules of the Supreme Court of Canada for all cases and the Supreme Court Act for civil cases only, please refer to the How to Calculate Deadlines for Serving and Filing Documents page of the website which includes an automated date calculator.

21. Do I need to file paper copies of documents?

Parties must file paper copies of the following appeal documents: the original and 23 copies of the printed version of the factum; 20 copies of the printed version of any volume of the record containing Part I; and 14 copies of the printed version of the condensed book.  All other appeal and leave documents, whether originating or not, are to be filed using the Electronic Filing Portal. The original paper copies must also be filed in accordance with the Rules of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Guidelines for Preparing Documents to be filed with the Supreme Court of Canada (Print and Electronic).

22. How do I file paper copies?

All deliveries via courier services must be done through the mail reception hut next to the west garage entrance. Please park outside the entrance and see the Commissionaire for screening. Individual deliveries of court documents intended for the Registry must be made through the regular security screening process at the East entrance of the SCC building for filing via E-filing lockers. **Please note that business may be conducted with the Registry Office on a first come first serve basis via an appointment booking system.  Individuals must request access via email to bookingregistry-reservationgreffe@scc-csc.ca.**.

23. How do I file documents for use at hearings?

Parties are asked to file with the Court an electronic version and fourteen (14) printed versions of the condensed book a minimum of two (2) business days before the hearing of the appeal.

24. Is an electronically commissioned affidavit accepted for filing?

An electronically commissioned affidavit will be accepted for filing if valid in the jurisdiction in which it was sworn or attested.

25. How do I provide proof of service?

Proof of service may be filed through the Electronic Filing Portal.

26. How do I pay the filing fees?

All parties are required to pay their respective filing fees, per usual practice, by way of credit card payment or cheque/money order.

27. What are the guidelines for filing electronic documents?

We encourage you to consult the procedures on how to file an electronic document found in the Guidelines for Preparing Documents to be Filed with the Supreme Court of Canada section under the “Parties” tab of the website.

28. How do I file electronic documents related to an application for leave to appeal, a motion or an appeal?

Please use the Electronic Filing Portal to file your electronic documents related to an application for leave to appeal, a motion or an appeal.

29. How can I find out if a judgment from a Court of Appeal is being challenged?

You may contact the Registry office by phone at 1-844-365-9662 or by email at registry-greffe@scc-csc.ca. Please provide the Registry Officer with either the names of the parties or the file number from the Court of Appeal. You can also search our SCC Case Information database using various criteria.

30. How do I find out the status of a case?

You can search our SCC Case Information database using various criteria or call a Registry Officer at 1-844-365-9662.

31. When can I expect to learn of the Court's decision in a leave application or an appeal?

Decisions on leave applications are rendered on average 3 months after the leave application is filed. Judgments on appeals are rendered on average 6 months after the hearing of the appeal.

32. Can I be notified when a Supreme Court of Canada decision is rendered?

Yes. To be notified of the release of judgments in appeals and in applications for leave to appeal, you may subscribe to our mailing list or follow the Supreme Court of Canada on Twitter in English (@SCC_eng) or in French (@CSC_fra). You will also be informed of appeals that will be heard.

33.Which counsel’s names will be recorded in the published reasons for judgment?

The Registrar has the discretion to limit the number of counsel who appear before the Court, to ensure the proper conduct of an appeal hearing. Only counsel who appear for the hearing will be listed in the published reasons for judgment. The purpose of that list in the reasons for judgment is to provide a record of counsel who officially appeared before the Court at the hearing, not to list everyone who contributed to the file for each party.

34. How do I obtain a copy of a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada or a subscription to the Canada Supreme Court Reports?

Free electronic copies of the judgments are available. A print copy costs $15 and can be obtained by filling out the Request for Court Records form.

If you have questions and wish to speak to a Records Centre employee by telephone, dial 613-996-7933 or toll free at 1-888-551-1185.

An annual print subscription to the Canada Supreme Court Reports costs $350.00 plus applicable GST/HST. The price for individual parts is $40. To subscribe to a print copy of the Canada Supreme Court Reports, use the subscription form.

If you have further questions, contact:

Library
Supreme Court of Canada
301 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0J1
Phone: (613) 996-8437
Fax: (613) 991-0258
Email: scr-rcs@scc-csc.ca

Access a PDF copy of the Canada Supreme Court Reports at no cost.

35. When did SCC judgments become available on the Internet?

In 1994, the Supreme Court of Canada began collaborating with the Université de Montréal’s research team Lexum to make judgments, news releases and bulletins available on the Internet free of charge. The SCC and Lexum worked with partners including the Law Foundation of Ontario, the Law Foundation of British Columbia, the Alberta Law Foundation, Quebec’s Centre d’accès à l’information juridique and CanLII to fill in gaps in the judgment database.

Since 2019, these materials have been made available directly on the SCC website.

36. Is there a difference between the print and digital versions of Supreme Court of Canada decisions?

All decisions are published in the Canada Supreme Court Reports (S.C.R.), in a side-by-side bilingual format. The process of preparing a decision for publication takes a few months, and in the meantime, reliable digital versions of the decision in both English and French are provided in HTML, Word and PDF.

Once a decision is published in the S.C.R., the PDF copies of the English and French versions are replaced with a PDF copy of the print, side-by-side bilingual decision.

37. Can I find a bilingual copy of a Supreme Court of Canada decision?

From 1970 all Supreme Court judgments published in the Canada Supreme Court Reports (S.C.R.) are in both official languages. In 1983, the Court began its current practice of releasing all judgments simultaneously in both official languages and publishing them in the S.C.R. in a bilingual, side-by-side format.
Please note that prior to 1977 not all judgments were published in the S.C.R. Many of those judgments, which are available by accessing the Court case file, are in one language only. 

38. Can I access Supreme Court of Canada court records on line?

Yes, you can access docket information, party information, case summaries, the memorandums of argument on an application for leave to appeal and the factums on-line from SCC Case Information. Please note that the memorandums of argument on leave will be posted electronically 30 days after leave to appeal has been granted and the factums on appeal will be posted electronically at least 2 weeks before the hearing unless they contain personal information, information that is subject to a publication ban, or any other information that is not part of the public record.

The Court's Records Centre strives to make its services as accessible as possible. Copies of documents can be obtained by filling out the Request for Court Records form or by contacting the Records Centre either by telephone at 613-996-7933 or 1-888-551-1185 or by email at records-dossiers@scc-csc.ca.

The fee for obtaining paper copies of documents is $1 per page. Copies of documents will be mailed or sent electronically within 48 hours of receipt of your payment.

39. Can I obtain photographs of judges of the Supreme Court of Canada or of the Supreme Court of Canada building for the purposes of publication?

Where a photograph forms part of the “Supreme Court of Canada Collection”, copyright is held by the Supreme Court of Canada and the photographs may be used or reproduced in accordance with the Copyright Act or with the written authorization of the Court. Where a photograph does not form part of the “Supreme Court of Canada Collection”, permission for use or reproduction must be obtained directly from the copyright holder.

40. I would like to make my opinion known on a pending case. How can I participate?

You cannot. Only parties to a case or people who have been granted official intervener status in a case are permitted to present documents or arguments to the Court.

41. Why can't I connect to the Supreme Court's library catalogue?

The catalogue server may occasionally go down unexpectedly. When this occurs we try to bring it back up as quickly as possible. The catalogue is not available on a daily basis between 4:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. (Eastern time) during the backup process. To allow you to connect to our catalogue from behind your firewall or proxy server, the security firewall or proxy server on your network must be configured to allow access to port 80, a standard internet port.

42. Is your library's catalogue Z39.50 compliant? How can I connect to it?

The Court's catalogue is Z39.50 compliant. Libraries wishing to configure Z39.50 clients to connect to our catalogue can obtain connection parameters and confirm search attributes by e-mailing a request at library-bibliotheque@scc-csc.ca. Note that port 2200 must be open to allow you to connect to our catalogue from behind your firewall or proxy server.

43. Where can I look for employment opportunities with the Supreme Court of Canada?

You can visit the page Employment Opportunities for the details.

44. How can a person be considered for a position as a law clerk/student articling position?

Every September an announcement is sent by the Supreme Court of Canada to each law faculty in Canada outlining the criteria required when applying for the positions. The deadline is in February.

Other information is also available on the Law Clerk Program page.

45. Where can I obtain information on a divorce granted in Canada?

Information on divorces can be located through the Central Divorce Registry maintained by the federal Department of Justice. Only parties to a divorce or their legal representatives may request divorce information. The Registry can be reached at:

Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings
Department of Justice Canada
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H8
or by phone at 613-957-4519.

46. I was born in Canada. How can I get a copy of my birth certificate?

The registration of births is a provincial matter. You should contact provincial or territorial authorities in the province or territory of birth for a certificate. This service is often provided by the department of health, consumer affairs or vital statistics.

47. Is the Supreme Court of Canada Website designed to apply the Standard on Web Accessibility?

This Website has been designed with a view to making the information created by the Supreme Court of Canada accessible to all users, including persons with disabilities who use adaptive technologies to receive and disseminate information. Our site has been designed to meet the WCAG 2.0 conformance requirements and the Standard on Web Accessibility.

We encourage accessible Internet site development and maintenance and invite your comments and suggestions for improvement of the accessibility of this site. If you require help in accessing the content of this site for reasons related to accessibility, and for comments or suggestions, please contact us by email at reception@scc-csc.ca.

48. Where may I obtain information about the Supreme Court of Canada in a language other than English or French?

The Supreme Court of Canada is pleased to offer its pamphlet in PDF format in twelve languages in addition to English and French. These languages were selected on the basis of statistics provided by Statistics Canada and the versions in the other languages complement the ones available in Canada's two official languages. The pamphlet contains information about the history and role of the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as other general information.

49. Where may I obtain information about the Supreme Court of Canada in braille?

The Supreme Court of Canada is pleased to offer the English and French versions of its pamphlet in braille. The pamphlet contains information about the history and role of the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as other general information. If you would like to receive a copy of the pamphlet in braille, please contact us by email at tour-visite@scc-csc.ca, by phone at 613-995-5361 or by regular mail at the following address:

Supreme Court of Canada
Attn: Tour Programs
301 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0J1

50. What to do if I receive a fraudulent telephone call or a fraudulent email appearing to be from Supreme Court of Canada?

Fraudulent calls

Fraudulent calls have been occurring recently, using Supreme Court of Canada telephone numbers to request money and personal information, such as social insurance numbers, from individuals.  As a result, we are experiencing a higher call volume and delays may be experienced when calling the Registry.

Please note that these calls did not originate from this organization and are not legitimate.

If you have been a victim, we encourage you to report these calls to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or toll-free at 1-888-495-8501.

Fraudulent emails

The Supreme Court of Canada has become increasingly aware of fraudulent emails sent to members of the public promising the release of funds, or notices of judgements rendered against a person or organization. These emails are not legitimate. Please see the warning about fraudulent emails for more details.