Best Lawyers for Appellate Practice in Canada

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Lawyer
  • Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Practice Areas:
    Appellate Practice Alternative Dispute Resolution Director and Officer Liability Practice Bet-the-Company Litigation Corporate Governance Practice Corporate and Commercial Litigation Administrative and Public Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
  • Practice Areas:
    Labour and Employment Law Appellate Practice Administrative and Public Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
  • Practice Areas:
    Alternative Dispute Resolution Appellate Practice Corporate and Commercial Litigation
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
  • Practice Areas:
    Appellate Practice Criminal Defence Administrative and Public Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
  • Practice Areas:
    Appellate Practice
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Practice Areas:
    Legal Malpractice Law Appellate Practice Administrative and Public Law Corporate and Commercial Litigation Bet-the-Company Litigation International Arbitration Securities Law Director and Officer Liability Practice Class Action Litigation
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario
  • Practice Areas:
    Aboriginal Law Administrative and Public Law Corporate and Commercial Litigation Appellate Practice
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Practice Areas:
    Appellate Practice Product Liability Law Corporate and Commercial Litigation Class Action Litigation Administrative and Public Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
  • Practice Areas:
    Corporate and Commercial Litigation Alternative Dispute Resolution Appellate Practice
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Hamilton, Ontario
  • Practice Areas:
    Corporate and Commercial Litigation Appellate Practice
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
  • Practice Areas:
    Corporate and Commercial Litigation Administrative and Public Law Criminal Defence Health Care Law Bet-the-Company Litigation Appellate Practice
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
  • Practice Areas:
    Appellate Practice Corporate and Commercial Litigation Legal Malpractice Law Alternative Dispute Resolution Director and Officer Liability Practice Construction Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
  • Practice Areas:
    Appellate Practice Aboriginal Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Montréal, Quebec
  • Practice Areas:
    Appellate Practice Corporate and Commercial Litigation
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Québec, Quebec
  • Practice Areas:
    Legal Malpractice Law Administrative and Public Law Corporate and Commercial Litigation Medical Negligence Appellate Practice
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Practice Areas:
    Appellate Practice Alternative Dispute Resolution Labour and Employment Law Administrative and Public Law Corporate and Commercial Litigation
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
  • Practice Areas:
    Corporate and Commercial Litigation Alternative Dispute Resolution Energy Law Appellate Practice Oil & Gas Law Aboriginal Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
  • Practice Areas:
    Appellate Practice Trusts and Estates Tax Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Practice Areas:
    Appellate Practice
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
  • Practice Areas:
    Legal Malpractice Law Appellate Practice Corporate and Commercial Litigation Securities Law Administrative and Public Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    London, Ontario
  • Practice Areas:
    Personal Injury Litigation Medical Negligence Appellate Practice
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
  • Practice Areas:
    Bet-the-Company Litigation Product Liability Law International Arbitration Appellate Practice Corporate and Commercial Litigation Director and Officer Liability Practice
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
  • Practice Areas:
    Appellate Practice Corporate and Commercial Litigation Director and Officer Liability Practice International Arbitration Personal Injury Litigation Bet-the-Company Litigation Alternative Dispute Resolution Insurance Law Construction Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
  • Practice Areas:
    Class Action Litigation Corporate and Commercial Litigation Alternative Dispute Resolution Appellate Practice
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Practice Areas:
    Appellate Practice Alternative Dispute Resolution Bet-the-Company Litigation Securities Law Class Action Litigation Corporate and Commercial Litigation
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Montréal, Quebec
  • Practice Areas:
    Construction Law Corporate and Commercial Litigation Appellate Practice Class Action Litigation
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
  • Practice Areas:
    Personal Injury Litigation Legal Malpractice Law Appellate Practice Class Action Litigation Corporate and Commercial Litigation
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
  • Practice Areas:
    Alternative Dispute Resolution Appellate Practice Insurance Law Director and Officer Liability Practice Legal Malpractice Law Personal Injury Litigation Product Liability Law Construction Law Corporate and Commercial Litigation Bet-the-Company Litigation
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
  • Practice Areas:
    International Arbitration Director and Officer Liability Practice Bet-the-Company Litigation Product Liability Law Corporate and Commercial Litigation Alternative Dispute Resolution Energy Law Appellate Practice Oil & Gas Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario
  • Practice Areas:
    Bet-the-Company Litigation Appellate Practice Insurance Law Corporate and Commercial Litigation
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Practice Areas:
    Appellate Practice Insurance Law Construction Law
Lawyer
  • Location:
    Montréal, Quebec
  • Practice Areas:
    Bet-the-Company Litigation Labour and Employment Law Legal Malpractice Law Appellate Practice Defamation and Media Law Securities Law Corporate and Commercial Litigation Class Action Litigation Alternative Dispute Resolution Director and Officer Liability Practice International Arbitration

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Practice Area Definition

Appellate Practice Definition

Appellate practice is a growing area of specialization in Canada. Appellate practice refers to having carriage of or advising on appellate work. Traditionally, trial lawyers did their own appeals. As lawyers continue to specialize, some litigators prefer not to do appeals. In addition, clients see the advantage of having appellate experts provide advice on or take carriage of appeals, particularly after unsuccessful results at trial.  There is a perceived benefit to having objective, specialized practitioners assist with this work. Arguing before a trial judge or jury, and conducting examinations of witnesses, are now considered to require different skill sets than arguing, in writing or orally, an appeal. Appellate practice refers normally to appeals in the provincial courts of appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada, including leave applications. Appellate practice relates to specialization regarding a particular type of proceeding as opposed to a particular subject. Appellate advocates are experts in appellate procedure, legal writing, oral advocacy before a panel of judges, and standards of review of judge’s decisions.

Arguing an appeal involves dealing with the case based on a fixed evidentiary record. It is only in rare instances that courts of appeal will entertain fresh evidence. Appellate practice involves putting together the appeal record and drafting the written argument, or factum, for the appeal. These steps are required in order to “perfect” the appeal, or to have it ready for argument. The respondent to the appeal will then file a responding factum. Appellate counsel have to be aware of the specific timelines associated with these tasks, which can be fairly condensed. Once the appeal is perfected, it is scheduled for an oral hearing with time limits normally assigned by the Court. Counsel for the appeal then argues the appeal in front of a panel of judges, normally three for courts of appeal and seven or nine for the Supreme Court of Canada. When counsel are attempting to overturn a court of appeal’s previous precedent, it is normally necessary to request that a five judge panel hear the appeal. Motions in courts of appeal are normally heard by a single judge. The majority of appeals are unsuccessful, meaning a premium is placed on appellate counsel who can advance concise and convincing arguments based on the record that exists. Appellate practice requires strong written and oral advocacy skills.

The majority of appeals to provincial appeal courts are as of right, but some appeals require to leave from the Court before the appeal can proceed. Leave is required for any appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. Leave to appeal is normally determined based on paper record, without oral argument. At the provincial level, the test for leave normally requires conflicting decisions and/or an issue of importance. At the Supreme Court of Canada, the test for leave to appeal is a matter of national importance. As a result, the majority of appeals heard by the Supreme Court of Canada involve constitutional or administrative law issues, which tend to affect all of Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada grants leave for a very small proportion of leave applications, meaning it is difficult and rare to get leave. Generally, leave to appeal is normally only granted for legal issues, not factual issues, which tend not to be of general importance and for which the standard of review is very deferential.

Brian N. Radnoff
Dickinson Wright PLLC

Dickinson Wright PLLC logo

Appellate practice is a growing area of specialization in Canada. Appellate practice refers to having carriage of or advising on appellate work. Traditionally, trial lawyers did their own appeals. As lawyers continue to specialize, some litigators prefer not to do appeals. In addition, clients see the advantage of having appellate experts provide advice on or take carriage of appeals, particularly after unsuccessful results at trial.  There is a perceived benefit to having objective, specialized practitioners assist with this work. Arguing before a trial judge or jury, and conducting examinations of witnesses, are now considered to require different skill sets than arguing, in writing or orally, an appeal. Appellate practice refers normally to appeals in the provincial courts of appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada, including leave applications. Appellate practice relates to specialization regarding a particular type of proceeding as opposed to a particular subject. Appellate advocates are experts in appellate procedure, legal writing, oral advocacy before a panel of judges, and standards of review of judge’s decisions.

Arguing an appeal involves dealing with the case based on a fixed evidentiary record. It is only in rare instances that courts of appeal will entertain fresh evidence. Appellate practice involves putting together the appeal record and drafting the written argument, or factum, for the appeal. These steps are required in order to “perfect” the appeal, or to have it ready for argument. The respondent to the appeal will then file a responding factum. Appellate counsel have to be aware of the specific timelines associated with these tasks, which can be fairly condensed. Once the appeal is perfected, it is scheduled for an oral hearing with time limits normally assigned by the Court. Counsel for the appeal then argues the appeal in front of a panel of judges, normally three for courts of appeal and seven or nine for the Supreme Court of Canada. When counsel are attempting to overturn a court of appeal’s previous precedent, it is normally necessary to request that a five judge panel hear the appeal. Motions in courts of appeal are normally heard by a single judge. The majority of appeals are unsuccessful, meaning a premium is placed on appellate counsel who can advance concise and convincing arguments based on the record that exists. Appellate practice requires strong written and oral advocacy skills.

The majority of appeals to provincial appeal courts are as of right, but some appeals require to leave from the Court before the appeal can proceed. Leave is required for any appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. Leave to appeal is normally determined based on paper record, without oral argument. At the provincial level, the test for leave normally requires conflicting decisions and/or an issue of importance. At the Supreme Court of Canada, the test for leave to appeal is a matter of national importance. As a result, the majority of appeals heard by the Supreme Court of Canada involve constitutional or administrative law issues, which tend to affect all of Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada grants leave for a very small proportion of leave applications, meaning it is difficult and rare to get leave. Generally, leave to appeal is normally only granted for legal issues, not factual issues, which tend not to be of general importance and for which the standard of review is very deferential.