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defendant appeal civil Lawsuit

How Many Times Can a Defendant Appeal a Civil Lawsuit?

If a defendant disagrees with a judge’s decision in a civil lawsuit, they can ask another court to review it. This is called the appeals process, which allows people to have trial decisions in their case revised.

It’s a crucial safeguard in the Canadian legal system that can help rectify any errors made during the trial. But what if you appeal, your case is received, and you disagree with the court’s decision again? Here, we’ll take a close look at the appeals process before looking at how many times a defendant can appeal.

When Can You Appeal?

As a defendant in a civil proceeding, you’ll most likely appeal against the severity of the decision. For example, if you’ve been ordered to pay a fine, you can appeal to have it reduced.

However, to have your trial decision revised, you must request a formal change in the official rendering of judgment and prove that there is an error that needs to be corrected. As with criminal appeals, you must have sufficient grounds.

Remember, the appeal process is simply to ensure that no mistakes were made and that the previous decisions are correct. In other words, you can’t appeal just because the decision wasn’t in your favour.

Furthermore, the appeal must be based on a legitimate interpretation of the law. This typically involves situations where the appealing party can present evidence that the judge’s decision isn’t supported by the evidence presented at trial.

To make matters worse, if you lose a case, you only have a specific window of time to make your appeal request.

when can you appeal

How the Appeal Court Works

Appeal courts work a little differently than the trial court system. For example, they won’t re-examine the evidence already presented in the previous trial. They evaluate the reliability of evidence and testimony based on the trial court judge’s decision, except when there is evidence that an error was made when the evidence was presented during the trial court process.

The decision of whether an error should be overridden and whether the trial court’s decision should be changed is in the hands of a panel of judges. In some cases, they can order a new trial if they determine that there were too many or significant mistakes made during the first one.

The appeal courts don’t even hear cases without evidence that the applicable law can be interpreted any other way than it was done during the first trial. Those planning to appeal can increase their chances of their appeal being approved by focusing on how the law should be interpreted.

That said, the laws based on which appeals can be motioned, upheld, or dismissed vary from one province to another. A decision from the appeals court in one province is only binding within that province. Moreover, the appeal process can also be different based on which court level you’re dealing with.

Levels of Appeal Courts in Canada

The Provincial Court of Appeal

Most civil cases are heard either at a Provincial or Territorial Court. If you, as a defendant, want to appeal against a decision made in a civil lawsuit, you need to file for an appeal at the Provincial Court of Appeal.

Here, a panel of three judges will review your case and decide whether to uphold the previous decision. If they do, and you disagree with their decision, you may be able to appeal at the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Supreme Court

At the Supreme Court of Canada, your case will be heard by nine justices of the peace from different provinces and regions across Canada. However, this court only considers cases where there is an issue of national implications, such as when significant legal issues arise in lower legal systems.

How Many Times Can You Appeal

Defendants can appeal only once against the same error, and, in theory, they can usually appeal twice against the same decision. In practice, most people who apply for appeal have their case concluded by the Provincial Court of Appeal.

Since the Supreme Court hears only a small percentage of the cases it receives appeals for, you’re more likely to be able to appeal only once.

Moreover, the number most courts of appeal across the country can handle is far less than the number presented to the courts below them, which is why no case will automatically proceed to the appeals court.

For this and other reasons listed above (limited amount of time, severe requirements for filing an appeal, etc.), most defendants’ chances for appeal are limited to one, if that. That’s why it’s vital to choose trusted appeal lawyers as you may only get one shot.

Only on some very rare occasions and provinces can a defendant appeal a decision made against them by a court in one province, in another province or territory.

how many times can you appeal

Final Thoughts

If you were wondering how many times can a defendant appeal a civil lawsuit, now you know that the answer to the question depends on several factors.

Whether they have sufficient grounds for appeal and can make a compelling argument to take their case to a higher court plays a crucial part in the number of times they can appeal.

Civil cases concluded in Territorial and Provincial courts can be appealed in the Provincial Court of Appeal, while decisions made at this court can be appealed at the Supreme Court of Canada. If you’re in need of an appeal lawyer or simply need some advice, give AGP LLP a call today and we’ll see how we can help.

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