The Quebec Court of Appeal

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The Court of Appeal of Quebec is the highest court of the province. It deals with all sorts of files: civil, criminal, family, administrative, etc.

It is a special court in many ways. For instance, several judges listen to and decide the outcome of an appeal. In general, 3 judges hear an appeal but for very important cases, there can be more.

The Court of Appeal holds session in Montreal or Quebec City only.

As its name indicates, the Court of Appeal is not the first court to have heard a case. A person will ask the Court of Appeal to intervene when he thinks that another court has made a mistake. But first, he must make sure that the law allows him to go on appeal. For example, the law says that a decision regarding a “small claim” is final and without appeal.

Exceptionally, the Quebec government can directly ask the Court of Appeal a question, without having to go through another court first. This process, called a “referral”, is done by the government to avoid making a mistake.

It is extremely rare for the Court of Appeal to have to listen to witnesses or to have to examine new evidence. It can familiarize itself with everything that the first judge heard or saw, for example, by reading the word for word testimony of the witnesses. Quite often, a trial in the Court of Appeal amounts to a presentation of each side’s arguments.

Finally, the only option left to a person who disagrees with the Court of Appeal’s decision is an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.