Guidebook for Sentence Appeals


4.1 Address the court

You are the appellant, the person making the appeal. Usually you are the first to address the court and provide it with basic information. In the Court of Appeal, three judges (or, rarely, 5 or 7 judges) will be present at the hearing of your appeal.

At the beginning of the hearing, you will be asked to give the reasons why you think the appeal should be allowed. State the points clearly and politely. If the judges ask questions about the facts, take your time answering and try to be as persuasive as you can. 

At this time, do the following:

  • state the grounds of appeal that you are using to make your arguments,
  • point out briefly the facts or the parts of the transcript that support your arguments, and
  • refer to any reported court decisions that support your position.

After your argument, the Crown lawyer will make his or her arguments. You then have the right to briefly reply to any arguments the Crown lawyer raised. The court will then decide whether to allow or dismiss the appeal.

4.2 Possible results of an appeal

For a sentence appeal, the Court of Appeal will usually give you an answer on the day of your appeal hearing. But sometimes the court will reserve its decision (make it later) and you’ll have to wait. The court can:

  • “vary the sentence within the limits prescribed by law” (increase or decrease the sentence that the sentencing judge gave you), or
  • dismiss the appeal.

Appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada

If you want to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC), contact the SCC registry office for information. Ask the registry office for their unrepresented criminal litigant appeals materials, or access the material from the SCC’s website. Here is contact information for the Supreme Court of Canada:

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

Fax: 613-996-9138


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Prepare for Your Hearing