Right of Appeal of a Summary Conviction Appeal Decision

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General Principles

See also: Right of Appeal of Verdicts or Sentences for Summary Offences

The Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to hear summary conviction appeals without leave.

The applicant, either Crown or Defence, must apply for leave before appealing to the Court of Appeal under s. 839:

Appeals to Court of Appeal
Appeal on question of law
839. (1) Subject to subsection (1.1), an appeal to the court of appeal as defined in section 673 may, with leave of that court or a judge thereof, be taken on any ground that involves a question of law alone, against

(a) a decision of a court in respect of an appeal under section 822; or
(b) a decision of an appeal court under section 834, except where that court is the court of appeal.

Sections applicable
(2) Sections 673 to 689 apply with such modifications as the circumstances require to an appeal under this section.
(3) Notwithstanding subsection (2), the court of appeal may make any order with respect to costs that it considers proper in relation to an appeal under this section.
Enforcement of decision
(4) The decision of the court of appeal may be enforced in the same manner as if it had been made by the summary conviction court before which the proceedings were originally heard and determined.
Right of Attorney General of Canada to appeal
(5) The Attorney General of Canada has the same rights of appeal in proceedings instituted at the instance of the Government of Canada and conducted by or on behalf of that Government as the Attorney General of a province has under this Part.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 839; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 183; 1999, c. 3, s. 57.


Test of For Appeal

An appellant must have leave to appeal a summary conviction appeal decision. The appellant must establish the requirements of s. 839 of the Criminal Code:[1]

  1. the issue sought to be raised is a question of law alone;
  2. the issue is important/the matter raises an arguable case of substance; and
  3. is the question of sufficient importance to merit the attention of the full court.

Appeals of SCAC decisions are not meant as a second review of the provincial court level. They can only be reviews of errors of law from the SCAC judge.[2]

Leave under s. 839(1)(a) should be granted sparingly. The main factors to consider are whether there "are the significance of the legal issues raised to the general administration of criminal justice" and "the merits of the proposed grounds of appeal"[3]

  1. R v Meikle, 2010 BCCA 337 (CanLII)
    R v Brunner, 1996 CanLII 3308 (BC CA), [1996] BCJ No. 628 (Q.L.) (C.A.) at para 3
    R v Bryan, 2004 BCCA 140 (CanLII) at para 14
    R v Parmar, 2005 BCCA 187 (CanLII) at paras 3-10
    R v Schalla (K.T.), 2007 MBCA 104 (CanLII), (2007), 220 Man.R. (2d) 69, at para 1
    R v Langlois (D.J.), 2008 MBCA 72 (CanLII), (2008), 228 Man.R. (2d) 256
    R v Jacob, 2012 MBCA 19 (CanLII)
    R v RWM, 2011 MBCA 74 (CanLII) at para 23 to 26
    R v Dickson 2012 MBCA 2 (CanLII)
    R v Rowe, 2013 ONCA 311 (CanLII) at para 4
    R v Newfoundland Recycling Ltd. 2009 NLCA 28 (CanLII)
    R v Panko, 2010 ONCA 660 (CanLII) at para 6
    R v Tibu, 2016 ABCA 97 (CanLII) at para 7
  2. R v RR, 2008 ONCA 497 (CanLII), (2008), 90 O.R. (3d) 641 (C.A.), per Doherty JA, at para 24
    R v Chatur, 2012 BCCA 163 (CanLII) at para 17
  3. R.R., supra, at para 37

Standard of Review

Leave should only be granted sparingly and only in exceptional cases.[1]

The appellant should demonstrate the exceptional circumstances that would justify a further review.[2]

The fitness of sentence may be a factor to consider.[3]

On summary conviction appeal, the reviewing judge must decide whether the decision of the trial judge could have been reasonably reached. The appeal should only be allowed if:[4]

  1. cannot be supported by the evidence; or
  2. is clearly wrong in law; or
  3. is clearly unreasonable; or
  4. there has been a miscarriage of justice.
  1. R v Pottie, 2013 NSCA 68 (CanLII) at para 21
    R v RR, 2008 ONCA 497 (CanLII), (2008), 90 O.R. (3d) 641 (C.A.) at para 25, 37
    R v Chatur, 2012 BCCA 163 (CanLII) at para 18
    R v Paterson, 2009 ONCA 331 (CanLII) at para 1
  2. Pottie, supra at para 21
    RR, supra at para 27
    Dickson, supra at para 14
    R v M(RW), 2011 MBCA 74 (CanLII) at para 32
  3. Chatur, supra at para 19
    R v Im, 2009 ONCA 101 (CanLII) at para 22
  4. R v Kumar, 2016 ONSC 7928 (CanLII) at para 16
    R v Mason 2013 ONSC 478 (CanLII) at para 49

Importance of Issue

The case must of of sufficient importance to merit the attention of the court. There is a compelling reason for a second level of court to review. Reasons include raising matters that are significant to the administration of justice or development of law.[1]

In considering the question of importance, the main consideration is "interests of justice". [2]

Factors include:

  • the merits of the appeal sought.[3]
  • the need to settle the law on the issue.[4]
  • whether an injustice would result from denying leave[5]

Leave should be denied, even if there is an error, where there is no potential to significantly impact the law.[6] However, leave should be warranted for areas of law that are not settled.[7]

The appeal should not be granted for appeals concerning well-settled areas of law.[8]

Appeal should not be granted where the issue is significant to the administration of justice, not merely "arguable" on the merits. There should be a "clear" error.[9]

  1. R v Denys (C.D.), 2009 MBCA 39 (CanLII), (2009), 240 Man.R. (2d) 13
    R v Chaluk, 1998 ABCA 253 (CanLII) at para 7
    R v Johnson, 2013 ABCA 322 (CanLII) at para 11
  2. R v Meikle, 2010 BCCA 337 (CanLII)
    R v Andrews, 2007 BCCA 597 (CanLII)
  3. R v Bennett, 2004 ABCA 116 (CanLII)
  4. R v Edmonton, 2013 ABCA 318 (CanLII) at para 31
  5. R v Toor, 2001 ABCA 88 (CanLII) at para 8
  6. Toor, ibid. at para 8
  7. R v A(DC), 1999 ABCA 244 (CanLII)
  8. R v Zaky, 2010 ABCA 95 (CanLII) at para 10
    R v Im, 2009 ONCA 101 (CanLII) at para 17
    R v Hengeveld, 2010 ONCA 60 (CanLII) at para 5
    R v RR, 2008 ONCA 497 (CanLII) at para 31
  9. R v M(RW), 2011 MBCA 74 (CanLII) at para 37
    RR, supra, at para 32