The Court of Appeal hears appeals from a conviction or a sentence relating to an indictable offence. However, it is the Superior Court that hears appeals from a conviction resulting from summary proceedings or provincial penal matters. In addition, in the latter cases, an appeal to the Court of Appeal is possible on a question of law only, with the prior authorization of a judge of that Court.
The same rules apply to the appeal of a decision rendered by the court for young offenders (Court of Quebec, Youth Division).
The Court of Appeal also has jurisdiction to hear appeals concerning extraordinary recourses (mandamus, certiorari, habeas corpus, prohibition), as well as appeals concerning various orders, such as those concerning a verdict that a person is not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder or is unfit to stand trial. Certain statutes also provide a right of appeal to the Court of Appeal (such as the Extradition Act).
In the event of an acquittal, the DCPP can appeal the decision on a question of law. He can appeal an order quashing an indictment. He can also appeal an order that stays proceedings. The DCPP can appeal a decision that an accused is unfit to stand trial, provided the appeal is on a question of law. Lastly, the DCPP can, with leave of a judge, appeal the sentence imposed by the court of first instance.
No. The right to appeal is an exceptional right that must be expressly created in a provision of law (see, for example, section 674 of the Criminal Code). Thus, there is no appeal from decisions rendered at a preliminary inquiry nor is there an immediate appeal from interlocutory decisions rendered during a trial; these decisions may be examined only as part of the appeal on the verdict.
Individuals may represent themselves without the assistance of counsel (i.e. a lawyer). Only counsel are authorized to represent another person. In all cases it is highly recommended that you consult counsel before instituting appeal proceedings. Staff at the Office of the Court can inform you about the appeal procedure, but cannot, under any circumstances, provide legal opinions or draft court pleadings.
Generally, if you are represented by counsel, you do not have the right to be present, unless there is an exception or you have been authorized by a judge of the Court. If you are not represented by counsel, you have the right to be present. However, for motions for leave to appeal or proceedings ancillary to an appeal, the Court may order that the hearing proceed by conference call. The Court can also order that the appeal proceed by videoconference or by any other method that allows the judges and the parties to see each other and communicate simultaneously.
Generally the time limit for appealing a judgment is 30 days from the date of the judgment. Certain statutes may, however, establish a different time limit. In all cases, it is strongly recommended that you consult counsel without delay.
Upon a motion, a judge of the Court may extend the time limit. The motion must set out the reasons why the appeal was not filed within the time limit as well as the grounds of appeal you intend to raise.
Again, prior consultation with counsel is strongly recommended.
The appeal of a guilty verdict requires either a notice of appeal or a motion for leave to appeal presentable before a judge of the Court of Appeal.
If only questions of law are raised (that is to say, for example, if neither the probative value of the evidence nor the credibility of the witnesses is in question), a notice of appeal that complies with the Rules of the Court of Appeal of Quebec in Criminal Matters must be filed with the Office of the Court of Appeal.
On the other hand, if the grounds of appeal involve questions of fact (i.e. the judge’s assessment of the facts is being contested) or mixed questions of fact and law (i.e. the judge’s assessment of the facts or the credibility of the witnesses, in light of the applicable rule of law, is being contested), you must obtain leave to appeal by means of a motion to one of the judges of the Court. For all other grounds, you must obtain leave to appeal from the Court.
You must obtain leave to appeal by means of a motion presentable before a judge of the Court of Appeal.
A notice of appeal must contain the following information:
By a motion that contains the information mentioned in the preceding question and is accompanied by an affidavit and by a notice of presentation stating the date, time and courtroom where the motion will be presented. If the accused is the appellant and is not represented by counsel, the clerk serves the pleading by sending a copy of it to the respondent. If the appeal is brought by the prosecution, the motion for leave to appeal must be served on the respondent personally, before or after it is filed, but no later than 15 days after it is filed, unless a judge has ordered otherwise.
All documents necessary for the adjudication of the motion must be attached to it, namely, the pleadings, relevant exhibits and depositions, minutes and judgments, or extracts of these documents, because the Court does not have access to the trial record.
In the case of a motion for leave to appeal from a guilty verdict, the Court may, upon a written notice filed within seven days, re-examine the motion. In the case of a motion for leave to appeal from a sentence, the judge’s refusal to grant leave is not reviewable by the Court. It is, however, possible to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada from a judgment denying leave to appeal.
No. Nevertheless, the Criminal Code provides the possibility of requesting a suspension of the obligation to pay a fine or of some of the conditions of a probation order. This request must be presented by motion to a judge of the Court who has the discretion to grant it if he is convinced that it is in the interests of justice to do so (section 683(5) of the Criminal Code). Similarly, pursuant to section 320.25 of the Criminal Code, a judge can stay an order prohibiting the offender from driving until the final decision on the appeal is rendered.
An application for a stay can be presented to the Court pursuant to its general powers provided for in section 683(3) of the Criminal Code.
A judge may, upon application to this effect, release an appellant pending the decision of the Court. The requirements of the application are set out in section 31 of the Rules of the Court of Appeal of Quebec in Criminal Matters.
The decision of the judge may be reviewed by the Court if the Chief Justice authorizes it.
The Court of Appeal has offices in Montreal and in Quebec City. Appeals from judgments rendered in the districts of Beauharnois, Bedford, Drummond, Gatineau, Iberville, Joliette, Labelle, Laval, Longueuil, Megantic, Montreal, Pontiac, Richelieu, Saint-François, Saint-Hyacinthe and Terrebonne are brought before the Court of Appeal sitting in Montreal, and appeals from judgments rendered in other districts are brought in Quebec City.
The notice of appeal and the motion for leave to appeal must be filed with the Court of Appeal. A court file is opened as soon as an appeal is received.
Other than the fees for transcripts, there are no court fees in criminal matters. Appeals in provincial penal matters are subject to the fees set out in the Tariff of court costs in penal matters (CQLR, c. C-25.1).
At any stage in the appeal process, parties represented by counsel may request that a facilitation conference in criminal matters be held. Such a conference must be authorized by a judge. Please refer to the section on the website entitled “Settlement Conference and Facilitation in Criminal Matters”.
At the request of the appellant, the clerk of the trial court will take all necessary steps to obtain, as soon as possible, the complete transcript of the proceedings and the exhibits, unless the parties waive in whole or in part their right to a transcript or the exhibits, or agree to a joint statement of the facts.
The appellant can obtain them from the transcript office of the courthouse or retain the services of a private stenographer.
The Rules of the Court of Appeal of Quebec in Criminal Matters state that certain portions of a transcript are omitted, unless a party requires otherwise or a judge orders otherwise.
If part of a transcript is required only by the prosecution, it must assume the costs thereof.
In the case of an appeal from a sentence or a file in which there has been special case management, formal briefs will not be required and will be replaced by documents that stand in lieu of the brief. These documents, to which the required exhibits and pleadings must be attached, should not exceed the number of pages determined by a judge.
The clerk will refuse a brief or the documents that stand in lieu of the brief if they do not comply with the Rules of the Court of Appeal of Quebec in Criminal Matters. Nevertheless, an extension may be granted to make any necessary corrections.
It is strongly recommended that you check your documents before coming to file them at the Office of the Court; you can do so by using the checklists found on the website in the section entitled “General Information”.
The time limit for the appellant is 60 days from the notice from the clerk of the trial court indicating that the appeal record is complete. The time limit for the respondent is 60 days from the filing of the appellant’s brief.
For appeals made under the Code of Penal Procedure, the appellant’s brief must be filed within 60 days of the judgment granting leave to appeal, while the respondent’s brief must be filed within 60 days of the filing of the appellant’s brief (articles 304 and 305 of the Code of Penal Procedure).
You can obtain an extension of this time limit. To do so, you should first try to get the consent of the opposing party and then present a written request at the Office of the Court. If the request for an extension is contested, you can present a motion to a judge.
If the appellant fails to file its brief and proof of notification within the stipulated time limits, the Court may, of its own initiative or by motion, dismiss the appeal pursuant to the procedure set forth in section 75 of the Rules of the Court of Appeal in Criminal Matters.
If the respondent fails to file its brief and proof of notification within the stipulated time limits, the appellant may request, in writing, that the appeal be placed on the roll. The clerk may also, of his own initiative, declare that the file is ready to proceed and place it on the roll.
Yes. When a hearing date has not previously been set by the Court, by a judge or by the clerk, and the appeal file is ready to be heard, the clerk must issue a declaration of readiness and send it to counsel and unrepresented parties.
The average waiting time is six months.
Judgment may be rendered at the hearing or the matter may be taken under advisement, in which case, the average waiting time before a judgment is rendered is from three to five months. As soon as the judgment is rendered, the clerk informs all the parties and sends them a copy.
Yes. Nevertheless, a party may consider appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada. You can access the Supreme Court website at: www.scc-csc.gc.ca.
The judgment is enforceable as soon as it is rendered, unless an extension is granted, for example, to a person who has been ordered to surrender to a detention centre.
No. Exceptionally, a party may, by motion to the Court, request the right to adduce new evidence. The motion must demonstrate that the evidence was obtained with due diligence and that it is relevant, credible and, if believed, could be expected to affect the result.
Yes. This request is made by an application addressed to a judge of the Court of Appeal. The requirements for the application are set out in section 31 of the Rules of the Court of Appeal of Quebec in Criminal Matters.
You can access the decisions of the Court since January 1, 1987 at no cost by visiting the SOQUIJ website at https://soquij.qc.ca/fr/services-aux-citoyens. The decisions of the Court from 1963 to date are also available by subscription at https://soquij.qc.ca/fr/services-aux-professionnels.
Yes. Nevertheless, those present at a hearing must be dressed appropriately, and counsel and articling students must follow the Rules of the Court of Appeal of Quebec in Criminal Matters.
No one is permitted to use an electronic device inside a courtroom if it appears from such use that:
Counsel, parties and accredited journalists may, if the decorum, order, conduct of the proceedings and digital recording system is not thereby affected:
The following are always prohibited:
Electronic devices include cellular phones, smart phones, electronic tablets, portable computers and similar equipment.
The Court’s rolls are available several weeks in advance. You can consult them at http://courdappelduquebec.ca/en/rolls/rolls/.
You can also subscribe to the Court of Appeal’s RSS feed or follow the Court on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest news.
The Office of the Court is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except legal holidays. The Court generally sits between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Each year, a certain number of judgments of the Court of Appeal are translated. A party is entitled to have their judgment translated at no cost, whether the translation is from French to English or English to French. Certain decisions selected by the Court are translated into English and can be consulted free of charge at https://soquij.qc.ca/fr/services-aux-citoyens