Bringing and Responding to Motions in Civil Appeals
From time to time you may find it necessary to bring a motion in relation to an appeal or proposed appeal in the Court of Appeal. As it would be impossible to anticipate every situation that might arise in a guide such as this, these notes will only serve to highlight procedures that apply to bringing motions in the court.
Procedures for motions in the Court of Appeal are governed by rule 61.16 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. This rule incorporates many of the provisions found in the general rule for motions, rule 37. Additionally, other rules dealing with the format of documents, computation of time, serving of documents on the other side and so on are also dealt with in the Rules of Civil Procedure. As a result you really must review the Rules of Civil Procedure before taking any step on an appeal or motion. You may review the Rules of Civil Procedure at the following link: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_900194_e.htm
Forms, where referred to in the rules, can be found at the following link: http://www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca/
Please note that the court does not provide blank forms. You will have to type or copy the forms yourself or download them from one of the sites above.
Additionally, the court has issued practice directions that outline practical matters not covered in the rules. Section 5 of the Practice Direction concerning Civil Appeals deals with motions. You may (and should) review this practice direction, which can be found at the following link: http://www.ontariocourts.ca/coa/notices/en/pd/civil2003.htm
Carefully review the applicable rules and practice directions before attempting to file or respond to a motion. They set out the "when, where, what, and how" of bringing and responding to motions. Generally speaking, the rules and practice directions set out what must be filed, what must be included in your filings, and when you must file your materials.
If you do not comply with the rules and practice directions, the staff of the court will not be able to accept your material for filing. To avoid frustration, a review of the applicable rules and careful planning are essential. For example, you should expect that it would be necessary to serve your opponent with all of the documents you wish to file on the motion. Only in exceedingly rare circumstances is a motion heard without the other side having been served with all of the materials. Similarly you should expect that it would be necessary to serve and file your materials within the timeline set out in the rules and the practice directions. While there is a provision for seeking permission of the registrar or a judge for late filing, such permission is usually granted only in emergencies or urgent situations. Keep in mind that bad planning does not necessarily create an emergency.
You should also be aware that bringing frivolous, unmeritorious, vexatious or even merely unsuccessful motions may result in an award of costs being made against you. Similarly, unsuccessfully opposing a motion may lead to a costs order against you. In fact, costs are usually awarded in favour of the party that succeeds on the motion. In some circumstances, a failure to pay such costs may prejudice your ability to argue the appeal.
Most motions are heard by a single judge. A panel of three judges hears some motions, but only when required by statute or a rule. The procedure for motions to a single judge and motions to a panel of three judges are different, as generally described below.
The most common types of panel motions are:
The law as to if, when and how these motions can be brought is rather extensive. You should carefully research the law or seek legal advice before attempting to bring such a motion. For example, motions for leave to appeal have a specific rule (61.03.1) that provides for procedures that are somewhat different than the procedure to be followed for other motions to a panel of judges (see rule 61.16).
As mentioned above, these motions to a panel of three judges have a special rule setting up the procedure to follow. These motions are dealt with in writing without oral argument. As a result, specialized procedures are contained within a rule 61.03.1 ensure that the parties can make full argument in writing and to permit the court to deal with the matter properly without an oral hearing.
The details outlining the procedure for bringing other motions to a panel of judges are set out in the rules (especially rule 61.16) and the practice direction noted above. Generally a motion brought to a panel must state that it will be heard "on a date to be fixed by the registrar". The person bringing the motion cannot unilaterally pick the date for the hearing of the motion. The court will advise you of the hearing date after you have served and filed the necessary documents in support of your motion, (a motion record and a factum in triplicate-one for each judge). The rules provide timelines within which material must be filed. If you do not comply with these timelines, your motion may be dismissed by the registrar without a hearing.
A party responding to such a motion may also file a motion record and factum for each judge. As you might expect, the rules provide timelines for serving and filing responding materials as well.
As the hearing date approaches, the parties should consult with each other to attempt to narrow the issues. The party bringing the motion must file a "confirmation of motion" form (Form 37 B) no later than 2 p.m. two days before the hearing. If such a confirmation is not provided to the court, the motion will not be heard without permission from a judge.
Most motions in the Court of Appeal are brought before one judge. The most common examples of motions brought to a single judge are:
As mentioned above, you should review the Practice Direction and the Rules of Civil Procedure generally and rules 61.16 and 37 in particular for the procedure for bringing motions to a judge.
If you are the party bringing the motion to a single judge, generally you must:
If you are a party responding to a motion you may file a responding motion record and respondent's factum. If you wish to do so you must serve and file it at least four business days before the hearing.
The parties should consult with each other to attempt to narrow the issues or determine whether the responding party will consent to the order. The party bringing the motion must file a "confirmation of motion" (Form 37 B) no later than 2 p.m. three business days before the hearing. If such a confirmation is not provided to the court, the motion will not be heard without permission from a judge.
As mentioned earlier, in cases of emergency or urgency a party that is unable to comply with these timelines may seek the approval of the registrar or a judge to file the material on short notice. However, as noted above, bad planning may not be a good enough reason for obtaining permission to file late.
The notice of motion and the confirmation of motion both require an estimate for the anticipated length of the oral argument of the motion. Note, however, that if any party does not file a factum of their argument (which is not mandatory on a motion before a single judge) that party's argument will be limited to 15 minutes. Similarly, a judge may cut short the time requested for oral argument if it appears that the party’s estimate was unreasonable.
You may wish to read the self-help information, which may be found elsewhere on this web site under the title "Getting Legal Assistance".
If you are representing yourself, either because you do not qualify for Legal Aid or because you choose to do so, you may nevertheless wish some assistance with your appeal or motion before your appeal is heard. Pro Bono Law Ontario operates three projects that offer assistance to self-represented persons in the Court of Appeal. 
Due to the timelines involved in bringing appeals and motions pending appeal, especially motions to a single judge, you may well wish to consult Pro Bono Law Ontario about the projects described below before commencing an appeal or motion so that you can determine whether you can get “pro bono” assistance before you take your first step. While an appeal or motion may be adjourned to permit either side to obtain or try to obtain legal assistance, you should not assume that this will necessarily happen in your case or that the other party will not ask for costs arising out of a request for an adjournment. Therefore if you are going to attempt to seek the assistance of a lawyer, privately, through Legal Aid or with the assistance of Pro Bono Law Ontario, it is important to do so without delay.
PBLO operates two help centres that provide limited assistance for self-represented litigants with matters in the Court of Appeal. The centres, called “Law Help Ontario” (LHO), are on the ground floor of the 393 University Avenue Courthouse in Toronto and the 5th floor of the 161 Elgin Street Courthouse in Ottawa. These centres serve low-income, self-represented litigants with civil, non-family matters. Clients of the centres can receive general legal information, form completion assistance and summary advice from a pro bono lawyer. These centres have only recently started to provide assistance with appeals. While this assistance is more limited than the Superior Court assistance provided at these centres, PBLO is exploring the possibility of expanding the appeal-related services it offers in this venue. The centres are open Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. but are closed from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Clients are served on a first-come, first-served basis. More information can be found at http://www.lawhelpontario.org/visit/item.1491-Law_Help_Ontario_at_Superior_Court.
Administered in partnership with The Advocates Society, the AAP is an effort to match self-represented appellants or respondents in civil appeals with lawyers who have indicated an interest in providing pro bono assistance. Self-represented litigants apply to PBLO for assistance and, in appropriate cases, PBLO tries to match them with pro bono lawyers. The services provided under the AAP range from discrete tasks (such as an assessment of the merits of the appeal or assistance with drafting a factum for a motion or an appeal) to full representation on an appeal or motion. However, the AAP does not guarantee any particular type of assistance. The details of any assistance to be provided are to be reached in consultation with PBLO and the volunteer lawyer. More information can be obtained at www.lawhelpontario.org/appeals/, by emailing lawhelpontario, by calling (416) 597-770 ext. 231, or by attending one of the help centres described above.
Since February 3, 2010, Pro Bono Law Ontario has provided “amicus duty counsel” to assist the court by helping self-represented individuals who are bringing or responding to motions in the Court of Appeal. “Amicus” means that duty counsel is a friend of the court. Duty counsel is there to help you but is not your lawyer. This means that duty counsel will try to come up with any arguments that can help your case, but is not obliged to make arguments or take positions for you that are not supported by the facts or law. Duty counsel will be available at the court one day per week, on Wednesday morning. You may wish to schedule your motion for hearing on Wednesday when counsel will provide you with guidance and, if appropriate, may be able to make submissions to the Court. If you do schedule the hearing for a Wednesday, you should also give court staff your full contact information so that duty counsel has the opportunity to contact you in advance (but please note that duty counsel is not obliged to do so). You should also file material as soon as possible (so that duty counsel has a chance to review it) and arrive early on the day of the hearing (so that you can consult with duty counsel). If you wish to seek assistance on a motion that is not provided by duty counsel under this project, please refer to the services provided by the projects described above.
The foregoing is provided for your information only. Pro Bono Law Ontario is not affiliated with the courts in any way. Court staff may not recommend that a litigant retain a particular counsel or seek the assistance of a program such as the one provided by PBLO.
Last Updated: March 14, 2012
 For two of the projects, there are financial and other criteria that must be met before you can qualify for assistance. The eligibility criteria for these projects are not the same as those used for Legal Aid. To obtain the assistance of an “amicus” friend of the court lawyer in bringing or responding to a motion, you have to confirm that you are unable to afford a lawyer but you do not have to disclose any financial information.
 Previously, the AAP accepted applications only after the appeal had been perfected. This has changed, such that appellants or respondents can apply for assistance at anytime during the appeal process.
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