An appeal is an application to have a decision made by a lower court reviewed by a higher court to ascertain if errors were made. Appeals can be made if a party in a case believes that the court wrongly applied the law in deciding their case. It is extremely rare that parties are able to argue that an error was made in deciding the facts of the case. Appeals can be difficult and complex legal matters, and only certain errors may be appealed to a higher court; you cannot file an appeal simply to have another chance to present your case.
• Appeals are subject to strict time limitations, so if you are considering appealing a decision it is important to seek legal advice right away.
• There are several possible results of an appeal. The Court of Appeal may:
• Dismiss the appeal;
• Allow the appeal and change the order of the lower court;
• Allow part of the appeal and dismiss part of it, and change the order of the lower court; or
• Allow the appeal and order a new trial or hearing.
Two of our lawyers, Ms. Diane Harms and Mr. Michael Ghert, have extensive experience in family law appeal work, and often handle appeals referred by other family law firms. As family law appeals can be costly and only certain aspects may be appealed, it is essential to seek advice from lawyers with an in-depth understanding of the law who can provide you with a realistic view on your prospects for success, as well as expertise throughout the process.
What is the difference between an appeal and an application to vary?
Variation applications can be made where a material change in circumstances has occurred since the last order. An application to vary is made to the original court asking that court to vary its own order. An appeal does not require a material change in circumstances; instead, an appeal is made to a higher court when a party believes the law has been wrongly applied.
Do I need a Lawyer to represent me in the Court of Appeal?
You may represent yourself in the Court of Appeal, but we highly recommend that you seek legal advice, as the law and process surrounding appeals are highly complex.
What is the difference between an error of Fact and an Error of Law?
An error of fact means that the judge had the wrong facts, or interpreted them incorrectly to misunderstand the situation. An error of law means that the judge had the facts correct, but did not apply the law correctly to those facts.