Guidebook for Summary Conviction Appeals


4.1 Address the court

You are the appellant, the person making the appeal. Usually you are the first to speak to the court and provide it with basic information. In the Court of Appeal, three judges (or, rarely, five or seven judges) will hear 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. At this time, do the following:

  • describe the error(s) of law made by the summary conviction appeal judge (the judge in the Court of Queen’s Bench), and
  • refer to any reported court decisions that support your position.

If the judges ask questions, take your time answering and try to be as persuasive as you can.

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

The Court of Appeal may give you an answer on the day of your appeal hearing. But sometimes the court will reserve its decision (make it later) and you will have to wait. The court may grant you leave to appeal and allow your appeal, it may grant you leave to appeal and dismiss your appeal or it may refuse to grant you leave to appeal. If the court allows your appeal, it can do one of three things:

  • acquit you,
  • order a new trial, or
  • substitute a conviction for a different offence.

In most cases where the court allows an appeal, it will order a new trial. The court will generally only acquit someone if the evidence is so weak that a new trial could not end in a conviction.

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