Guidebook for Summary Conviction Appeals


3.1 Prepare your written argument

It is a good idea to prepare and file a written outline of your argument. This is called a factum when it is filed by a lawyer but is called a written argument if you file it yourself. Your written argument should not be longer than 15 pages. At the hearing, you should base your oral arguments on the outline that you have presented in your written argument. Your written argument helps you to clearly explain your argument to the court.

File your original written argument at the registry office within 30 days after you filed your notice of appeal.

3.2 Do some research

Refer, if possible, to any reported court decisions (judgments) that support your position. Try to use decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan or courts of appeal from other provinces.

You can look up Canadian legislation and legal cases on the website of the Canadian Legal Information Institute.

You can find court decisions in books called law reports and case digests and in annotated copies of the Criminal Code. If there is a specific court decision you are looking for and you cannot find it, you can contact the registry office to see whether the staff there can find it for you, but the staff in the registry office cannot conduct legal research for you.

3.3 When you can use fresh (new) evidence

In exceptional circumstances, the Court of Appeal may allow you to introduce, by affidavit, fresh evidence on matters that were not heard at trial. However, before the court will hear that evidence, you must persuade the court that:

  • the evidence could not have been called at trial,
  • the evidence is relevant because it relates to an issue that was a deciding factor at the trial,
  • the evidence is reliable, and
  • the evidence could reasonably be expected to have affected the outcome (when taken with the other evidence presented at the trial).

It is hard to satisfy all of these conditions, so applications to introduce fresh evidence are usually not successful.

3.4 How to apply for release on bail pending appeal

If you are in custody and wish to be released until your appeal hearing, in addition to filing your notice of appeal, you must file a notice of motion in Form L and an affidavit in Form M in the registry office.

Prepare your notice of motion and affidavit

You will need to insert a chambers date into your notice of motion. You can find out when the court’s next chambers dates are by telephoning the registry office or by looking here.

Your affidavit should contain at least the following information:

  • where you lived before you were convicted;
  • where you intend to live if you are released;
  • the name of your employer and the place of your employment, if any, before you were convicted;
  • your employment prospects if released;
  • any supports you will have in the community if you are released; and
  • any special individual circumstances relating to your physical and mental health, or potential for harm to you or your family if you aren’t released.

Write your written argument for release on bail

When you are writing your argument for release on bail, it is very important to be as persuasive as possible. There is no required form or format, but your written argument for release must convince the court of the following:

  • your appeal has merit (a chance of succeeding);
  • you will attend at court on the date of your appeal and will surrender yourself into custody if you lose your appeal; and
  • keeping you in custody is not necessary in the public interest.

File your notice of motion, affidavit and written argument

File a copy of these documents at the Court of Appeal’s registry office at least three days before the chambers date inserted in your notice of motion.

If you are in custody when the application is heard, arrangements will be made by the registry office for you to appear by telephone before a judge of the court in chambers.

3.5 Abandoning your appeal

If you have filed a notice of appeal but decide you do not want to go ahead with it, you have to file a notice of abandonment in Form H. Fill in the form and send it to the registry office.

Except in rare situations, you cannot re-open your appeal once it is abandoned.


Previous - Step 2
File a Notice of Appeal

Next - Step 4
Appear at the Hearing