1.1 What is an appeal?

Last Reviewed: June 2023 Reviewed by: Court of Appeal Staff

What is an appeal?

After a lower court, such as the BC Supreme Court, makes a decision, 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
  • A hearing with witnesses or a jury- A chance to present new evidence or new witnesses to a new judge, except in exceptional circumstances (see section 3.5 Introducing fresh or new evidence)
  • 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, you must ask the permission of the Court to appeal through a process called “leave to appeal”. See section 2.2 What to do if leave to appeal is required. Even if the Court of Appeal hears your appeal, it will not:

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

For an appeal to be successful, you must show that the decision-maker made a factual or legal error that affected the outcome of your case. An appeal is not a new trial or re-hearing of your case.

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