Court of Appeal Act amendments improve access to justice

THE B.C. government announced on Monday that it has introduced amendments to the Court of Appeal Act that, if passed, will make the process of filing an appeal easier to understand and more efficient for lawyers and people who are self represented.

Currently, individuals who want to bring an appeal must refer to different resources – the Court of Appeal Act, the Court of Appeal Rules and Practice Directions. These amendments consolidate information and simplify procedures to make it easier for people to read and navigate the act.

The changes to the act will allow the court to modernize its functions, most particularly the ability to hear appeals through less traditional means (e.g., videoconference), where appropriate.

The language in the act will be simplified, making it easier to understand. Frequently used sections of the act will be more prominent, so people can source and access information more efficiently. The language of the act will be matched to the Court of Appeal Rules so wording is consistent between the two documents.

These amendments are among recommendations that emerged from a public consultation the Province undertook in 2019. The Province worked closely with the Court of Appeal in developing this legislation.

Amendments to the Court of Appeal Rules and the updating of forms will follow later this year.

Quick Facts

  • The most recent update to the Court of Appeal Act was in 1996.
  • The Court of Appeal is the highest court in the Province of British Columbia.
  • It hears appeals from the Supreme Court, the Provincial Court on some criminal matters, and reviews and appeals some administrative boards and tribunals.