Important information you need to know if you have been served with an application for leave to appeal

  1. What does this mean?
  2. Where can I get help?
  3. How much will this cost?
  4. What happens after the applicant has sent the application for leave to appeal to the Court?
  5. Instructions and forms

1. What does this mean?

Before an appeal is heard by the Supreme Court of Canada in a civil case, and this is also true in most criminal cases, the person wishing to bring the appeal (the applicant) must ask the Supreme Court of Canada in writing for leave (permission) to do so.   If you have been served with an application for leave to appeal, this means that the applicant has sent a written application for leave to appeal (leave application) to the Court.   If you are named as a respondent and the leave application is accepted for filing, you may file a written response to the application.


2. Where can I get help?

It is highly recommended that you get a lawyer.  Only a lawyer can give you legal advice.  A lawyer is also in the best position to assist you in framing the legal issues, and to give you advice on the process and your chances of success.  Therefore, even if you do represent yourself, you should talk to a lawyer about your case. 

Pro Bono Ontario has a list of lawyers who can help low-income, self-represented persons with an application for leave to appeal.  You may apply for assistance by filling out the application form on the Pro Bono Ontario website.

You can also browse the Court's website for sources that make legal information available to the general public. Many of these sources also provide information on how you can find a lawyer or where you can get free or low-cost legal services.


3. How much will this cost?

There is no fee for filing a response.  However, the Court will charge you $75 for any motion you might file that is not filed with your response.

You should be aware that if the Court grants an application for leave to appeal in a civil case, it may order you to pay, in addition to filing fees paid to the Registrar, costs claimed by the applicant, even if you did not file a response.  You may also be ordered to pay costs if the appeal is ultimately successful.  Costs are generally not ordered in criminal cases.

Costs for applications for leave to appeal range from $800 to over $2000.  Costs on an appeal are much higher. You may therefore wish to consult a lawyer if you have been named as a respondent.   Only a lawyer will be able to provide you with an assessment of the merits of the case and the chances of success of the leave application


4. What happens after the applicant has sent the application for leave to appeal to the Court?

Your response is due within 30 days after the day on which a file is opened following the filing of an application for leave to appeal. As soon as a file number is assigned to the case, the Registry will send the number to counsel for the applicant in a letter, and you will receive a copy of the letter. 

If the leave application is brought by a party who is not represented by counsel:  The unrepresented applicant will receive an acknowledgement letter from the Registry which will indicate that the written leave application will be carefully reviewed by Court staff within 30 days.   You will receive a copy of this letter.  Once the leave application has been reviewed, the applicant will receive a second letter which will either inform the applicant of the file number assigned to the case OR explain why a file number has not been assigned.   You will also receive a copy of this second letter. 

If a file number is not assigned, you do not have to file a response.


5. Instructions and forms

We realize that filling out forms and court documents, as well as understanding the Court's Rules, can be complicated.  Registry staff cannot tell you whether the information you have provided is correct or complete, or give you legal advice.  To make things easier, we encourage you:

  • to consult the guide for information on what is expected of you, and for instructions to be followed, if you have been named as a respondent, and 
  • to use the forms included in the guide. If you use these forms, you do not need to worry about whether you have complied with the Rules of the Supreme Court of Canada; properly completing them will ensure that you have followed the Rules in their entirety.  Complete the forms to the best of your ability.  Use your own words.

Remember that Registry staff cannot help you fill out the forms.  You are expected to know your case and to put everything together, even if you do not have a lawyer.