SUPREME COURT OF CANADA CRIMINAL APPEAL LAWYER
What is a Supreme Court of Canada Appeal?
The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) is the last stop in Canada's criminal appeals odyssey. You'll have already gone through at least one and possibly more prior appeals before you reach the SCC.
The Court hears more appeals annually than most other highest courts in the land of other countries, but still can't hear from everyone. So Parliament has imposed a strict requirement of needing "leave to appeal" of the Court to get your case heard, with the exception of a few criminal appeals "as of right" resulting from 2-1 split decision lower appeal court judgments.
Only about 1 in 10 cases that ask for leave each year receive it, and you'll have to demonstrate an issue of "national importance" that goes far beyond being important to you personally.
Why Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada?
Despite the difficulty of getting the Court to hear your case, once the Court decides to let you proceed you've got a reasonable shot at the Court disagreeing with your last lower Court of Appeal's decision. While there's never a second kick at the trial can unless you have a new trial ordered, SCC appeals are truly a second chance at an appeal.
Because you'll get anywhere from 5 to 9 judges hearing your SCC appeal, rather than the 3 judges who heard your lower court appeal, you may stand a better chance of a "just result." The Court does have the unfortunate habit of sometimes producing more than two judgments (each judge is permitted to write a judgment), leading to it being difficult to figure out what really was decided in a case. But for an Appellant, the only three results that really matter are: (a) acquittal or stay of proceedings; (b) new trial; (c) rejection of appeal.
How to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada
Unlike most lower court appeals, SCC appeals proceed in three stages.
1. Determine if you have an appeal as of right
If you're lucky enough to have an appeal as of right (the Criminal Code explains the precise criteria), you can skip the leave to appeal stage and just proceed directly to file and perfect your appeal.
2. Apply for leave to appeal to the SCC
The leave to appeal stage can be more complicated than a lower court appeal on the merits because you've only got 1 in 10 shot at securing leave. Lots of preparation is needed here, and there are lots of technical requirements. But the registry staff at the SCC are quite helpful.
3. Submit your appeal if granted leave
If you do get leave, then a second process begins to perfect your appeal for hearing. Practically you will be able to recycle some of the materials from the leave application, though now the focus will be solely on the substantive merits of the appeal, so you'll want to expand your argument and authorities on that basis.