This guidebook provides general information about bringing an appeal in the BC Court of Appeal. It does not explain the law. Court staff (and this guidebook) can only give you legal information, not legal advice. They will tell you how to do something, but not whether you should do it or why you might want to do it. Legal advice must come from a lawyer.
Do you need a lawyer?:
Before you go ahead with your appeal, it’s a good idea to find out whether you can get legal aid through the Legal Services Society. See more about how to get legal aid below. You do not have to be represented by a lawyer to appear in the Court of Appeal. But, if you represent yourself in court, it is wise to first meet with a lawyer and have him or her explain the law to you, and find out the best way to present your appeal.
If you’ve been refused legal aid and want to find a private lawyer to take your case, try the Lawyer Referral Service. It will give you the name of a lawyer who you can call for a half-hour appointment for $25 plus taxes. If you decide you want to hire him or her, remember to ask them how much you can expect to pay.
How to get free legal help:
If you are not in custody, you can apply for a legal aid lawyer at the office nearest you. It’s a good idea to call before you go. Office locations are listed on the Legal Services Society website. You can also call the LSS Call Centre at 604-408-2172 (Greater Vancouver) or 1-866-577-2525 (no charge, elsewhere in BC).
If you are in custody, you can apply for legal aid by calling a prisoners-only line at 1-888-839-8889 (no charge). Or you can call the LSS Appeals Section collect at 604-601-6085. You can also write to: Appeals Section, Legal Services Society, 400 – 510 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 3A8; Fax: 604-682-0956.
In some cases, you may be able to get a court-appointed lawyer under section 684 of the Criminal Code. You can apply if you have no money to hire a lawyer for your appeal and you applied to Legal Services Society for legal aid and were refused. There’s more about how to do that in section 2.4 of the online guides.