Lesson 7: Court of Appeal for BC

Topic 1: Jurisdiction of the Court

As the name suggests, this court hears appeals from previously-decided cases held in Provincial Court, Supreme Court and administrative tribunals. These can be from civil or criminal cases. Appeals are made because someone is unhappy with the results of a judgment in his or her case. Usually three, but as many as five judges sit together and hear appeals on both criminal and civil issues. The Court of Appeal sits regularly at the law courts in Vancouver, Victoria and Kamloops. It also hears appeals in the Yukon Territory. The Chief Justice of BC heads the Court of Appeal.

In this court, at least three judges and in some cases five, hear appeals together. This is different from the lower courts, where there is always just one judge. In this courtroom, you will usually see only judges and lawyers, although individuals may argue their own case. When an appeal is heard, the judges review the written records of the original court and subsequent appeals and listen to the lawyers for each side, who make arguments based on these records. The court is composed of the Chief Justice of British Columbia and 21 Court of Appeal judges. All are federally appointed.

The Court of Appeal of British Columbia is the final level of the court process in British Columbia. However, a convicted person or the prosecutor in a criminal case, or a party in a civil case, may still believe that justice has not been done. Another step remains — an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, which sits in Ottawa.