What if you cannot afford a Lawyer?
The Court of Appeal will not appoint a lawyer to represent you in a civil or family case. However, there are services that can assist you as a self-represented litigant to give you legal information or free or low-cost representation in the Court of Appeal.
What if you cannot afford to pay filing fees?
If you cannot afford to pay the fees for filing an appeal, you can apply to the court for an order that no fees are payable. You would normally make this application to a judge in chambers at the same time that you file your notice of appeal or your notice of application for leave to appeal if leave is required.
To be granted an order that no fees are payable, the judge who hears the application must find that you cannot afford to pay the court filing fees without suffering undue hardship and that your appeal has some chance of success. These fees are listed in Schedule 1 of Appendix C of the Court of Appeal Rules
If you are granted an order that no fees are payable, you are exempt only from paying court filing fees. You must still pay for the cost of preparing the transcript from the trial, if you are appealing from a trial that involved live witnesses. (You do not need to file a transcript for appeals from a “chambers” judgment; “chambers” includes applications and summary hearings where the evidence is given in writing (by affidavit), not by live witness testimony.) You may also be responsible for paying the other party’s costs if your appeal is not successful. These costs can amount to thousands of dollars. See Section 2.5 of this Guidebook for more information.
How to apply for an order that no fees are payable
Follow these steps to apply for an order that no fees are payable:
- You must file a notice of motion (Form 6), which is the document used to make an application to court and to tell the other parties that you are making that application.
- An application for an order that no fees are payable is usually made at the same time as you file your notice of appeal or application for leave to appeal. The time limit for filing a notice of appeal or application for leave to appeal is 30 days, commencing on the day after the order you are appealing was pronounced (i.e. the 30 day time limit starts the day after the decision-maker stated who won the case). If that date falls on a weekend, you must file your document on the next business day.
- Prepare an affidavit (Form 19) that includes information about your expenses, your household income, your dependants, your education and workplace skills. Note that you must attach, as an exhibit, a copy of the reasons of judgment from the previous hearing. Talk to the Court of Appeal registry staff, as they may be able to order a copy of the reasons for judgment for you.
- File at least 4 copies of the notice of motion and affidavit – 2 for use by the court, one for your own use, plus as many other copies that you need to serve on the respondent(s).
- Serve a copy of the notice of motion and affidavit on the other parties (respondents) within the same 30-day period, and at least 5 business days before the date of the hearing of the application for an order that no fees are payable.
- Within 10 days from service on the other parties, file an affidavit of service in the Court of Appeal registry as proof that you served the application on every respondent. Alternatively, you can file an acknowledgement of receipt of the document by the other party.