Tips for Appearances

Due to COVID-19, all hearings at the Court of Appeal are being conducted remotely at this time. For best practices for remote appearances by Zoom, visit the Court of Appeal’s Consolidated Practice Direction Regarding Proceedings in the Court of Appeal During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The following tips for appearances apply to in-person hearings at the Court of Appeal:

  • Counsel are required to robe for panel motions and appeals, but not for proceedings presided over by a single judge (e.g. single judge motions, status court and purge court). Self-represented litigants, law clerks and other justice participants are not required to robe.
  • Pregnant counsel are not required to wear a waistcoat or to robe if necessary based on the type of proceeding.
  • Counsel slip and hearing information forms, which identify the individuals on record that will be providing oral submissions must be completed before the start of court.
  • Courtroom doors open half an hour prior to the start of court and it is recommended to arrive early.
  • Court of Appeal hearings are staffed by one courtroom registrar and one records clerk. They sit at desks in front of the dais.
  • There are no court reporters and transcripts are not produced. The Court of Appeal is not a court of record.
  • Unless permission is given by the court, it is an offence under s. 136 of the Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.43, punishable by a fine of not more than $25,000 or imprisonment of up to six months, or both, to record any part of a hearing, as well as to publish, broadcast, reproduce or disseminate any such recording.
  • There are no assigned seats in the courtroom gallery. Counsel provide submissions from the front of the courtroom gallery, or in front of “the bar” in courtrooms that have designated tables for counsel only. Parties making submissions may speak with the courtroom registrar for more information about where to set oneself up with their belongings/equipment and where to sit.
  • All courtrooms have Wi-Fi. Courtroom staff can assist with Wi-Fi access and all electronic devices should placed on “airplane mode” and/or muted to eliminate risk of noise disruptions (phone calls, email alerts, etc.).
  • Accessibility or specific technology requests must be made well in advance of the hearing date to afford enough time for the court to consider/approve and setup. While all courtrooms have outlets to plug in electronic devices, it is advisable to arrive with devices fully charged to eliminate the need to be reliant on an extension cord to the nearest outlet from your courtroom gallery location.
  • It is not acceptable to eat food, chew gum or bring any other beverage but water into a courtroom. It is advisable to bring your own bottle of water.
  • Judges of the Court of Appeal for Ontario are addressed as “Justice” followed by their last name, not as “Your Honour”. Court staff will identify the judge/panel and where they will be seated on the dais before the start court proceedings.
  • Judges are listed on case lists based on seniority. They are seated as follows on three-judge panels:
    • Judge A – Most senior judge of the panel (also called the president)
    • Judge B – Second most senior judge of the panel
    • Judge C – Third most senior judge of the panel

*applicable to five-judge panels

  • When court commences, all in attendance are asked to rise/stand until the judges are seated on the dais.
  • After the judges are seated, the president of the panel (for panel motions and appeals) or the judge (e.g. for single judge motions) will address the case that is to start and call upon the party to make submissions.
  • Generally, the appellant or moving party is called first to make submissions. Then the respondent is asked to make submissions. Finally, the appellant or moving party may provide a reply.
Courtroom 1
Photo: Courtroom 1, circa 2011

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