About the British Columbia Court of Appeal
There are three levels of court in British Columbia. The first level, the Provincial Court, is a trial court that hears the majority of criminal cases, including those involving youth. It also hears most small claims cases between $5001 and $35,000, traffic cases, and some family matters. Most matters worth under $5001 are dealt with in the Civil Resolution Tribunal and, as of April 1, 2019, most new claims for motor vehicle accidents and injuries for an amount of $50, 000 or less will proceed through the Civil Resolution Tribunal as well.
The Supreme Court is the highest trial court in British Columbia. It hears most civil cases over $35,000, family law cases involving divorce and custody, as well as serious criminal cases. The Supreme Court also hears appeals of some Provincial Court cases.
The Court of Appeal is the highest court in the province. It hears appeals from:
- Most decisions made in the BC Supreme Court;
- Some decisions made in the BC Provincial Court (but not decisions from the Small Claims Court.)
- Some decisions made by BC administrative tribunals that were reviewed by the BC Supreme Court (e.g., decisions from the BC Human Rights Tribunal).
- Some decisions made under provincial and federal statutes, such as an order for foreclosure or cancellation or orders under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.
There are currently 23 justices in the Court of Appeal, headed by The Chief Justice of British Columbia. Some matters are heard in chambers, before a single justice. A decision of a justice in chambers may be reviewed by a panel of three justices (called a “division”). The court sits as a division of three judges most of the time. For some important cases, the court sits as a division of five judges.
The Court of Appeal sits regularly in Vancouver, and from time to time in Victoria, Kamloops, and Kelowna. The judges of the British Columbia Court of Appeal are also judges of the Yukon Court of Appeal. The Yukon Court of Appeal sits for one week, twice a year in Whitehorse. Yukon appeals are sometimes heard in other BC court locations, such as Vancouver.
The Court of Appeal has a registrar, who, in addition to other administrative duties, hears matters related to the settling of orders and bills of costs.
For the Court's 100th Anniversary, a documentary history of the court was prepared titled "Though the Heavens Fall: 100 Years of the B.C. Court of Appeal" that can be viewed here.
Representing Yourself in the Court of Appeal
If you are representing yourself in the Court of Appeal, you will need to learn about the court system and specific procedures in the Court of Appeal. This website can help you.
Access the following information to learn more about BC Court of Appeal processes and how you can prepare your case.
Legislation, Rules and Forms
The practice and procedure of the Court of Appeal is governed by legislation and decisions of the courts.
Procedure in civil matters is governed by the Court of Appeal Act, the Court of Appeal Rules, case law, practice directives issued by the Chief Justice and practice notes issued by the Registrar.
Procedure in criminal matters is governed by the Criminal Code, the Court of Appeal Criminal Appeal Rules, case law, practice directives issued by the Chief Justice, and practice notes issued by the Registrar.
Other statutes and rules may govern in specific situations, such as extradition and appeals and reviews from administrative bodies.
Provided below are links to various materials. These links are not official versions and may not be current. In the event that there is a question about the content of anything available through a link below, the official version takes precedence.
- Appendix A - Court of Appeal Civil Rules Forms (available in Word or PDF format)
- Appendix B - Party and Party Costs
- Appendix C - Schedule of Fees Payable to the Crown
Court of Appeal Record and Courtroom Access Policy
Practice Notes and Directives
History of the British Columbia Court of Appeal
For the Court's 100th Anniversary, a documentary history of the Court was prepared titled "Though the Heavens Fall: 100 Years of the B.C. Court of Appeal".