1.1 What is an appeal?

What is an appeal?

At the conclusion of a proceeding in a lower court, such as the BC Supreme Court, the party who lost may want to have that decision reviewed by a higher court in the hope that it might be reversed or changed. In such cases, an “appeal” is made to the Court of Appeal, which is the highest court in BC.

An appeal is not a new trial or a rehearing of the case.

What an appeal is not

An appeal is not:

  • a new trial;
  • a hearing with witnesses or a jury;
  • a chance to present new evidence or new witnesses to a new judge, except in exceptional circumstances; or
  • a way to avoid complying with the trial court’s order.

The Court of Appeal will not hear an appeal of every case. In some cases, the appellant must ask the permission of the Court to appeal through a process called “leave to appeal”. Even if the Court of Appeal hears the appeal, it will not:

  • re-hear the case from start to finish;
  • change the decision because it seems unfair; or
  • change the decision just because the Court of Appeal disagrees with it. (The decision must be incorrect due to a factual or legal error.)

In summary, for an appeal to be successful, the appellant must show that the decision-maker made a factual or legal error that affected the outcome of the case.