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Supreme Court Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. S-26)

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Act current to 2021-05-04 and last amended on 2019-12-18. Previous Versions


Marginal note:Quashing proceedings in certain cases

 The Court may quash proceedings in cases brought before it in which an appeal does not lie, or whenever such proceedings are taken against good faith.

  • R.S., c. S-19, s. 46

Marginal note:Appeal may be dismissed or judgment given

 The Court may dismiss an appeal or give the judgment and award the process or other proceedings that the court whose decision is appealed against should have given or awarded.

  • R.S., c. S-19, s. 47

Marginal note:New trial may be ordered

 On any appeal, the Court may, in its discretion, order a new trial if the ends of justice seem to require it, although a new trial is deemed necessary on the ground that the verdict is against the weight of evidence.

  • R.S., c. S-19, s. 48

Marginal note:Appeal may be remanded

 The Court may, in its discretion, remand any appeal or any part of an appeal to the court appealed from or the court of original jurisdiction and order any further proceedings that would be just in the circumstances.

  • 1994, c. 44, s. 99


Marginal note:Payment of costs

 The Court may, in its discretion, order the payment of the costs of the court appealed from, of the court of original jurisdiction, and of the appeal, or any part thereof, whether the judgment is affirmed, or is varied or reversed.

  • R.S., c. S-19, s. 49


Marginal note:Necessary amendments

  •  (1) At any time during the pendency of an appeal before the Court, the Court may, on the application of any of the parties, or without any such application, make all such amendments as are necessary for the purpose of determining the appeal or the real question or controversy between the parties as disclosed by the pleadings, evidence or proceedings.

  • Marginal note:At whose instance

    (2) An amendment referred to in subsection (1) may be made, whether the necessity for it is or is not occasioned by the defect, error, act, default or neglect of the party applying to amend.

  • R.S., c. S-19, s. 50

Marginal note:Conditions

 Every amendment shall be made on such terms as to payment of costs, postponing the hearing or otherwise as to the Court seem just.

  • R.S., c. S-19, s. 51


Marginal note:Interest

 Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, a judgment of the Court bears interest at the rate and from the date applicable to the judgment in the same matter of the court of original jurisdiction or at the rate and from the date that would have been applicable to that judgment if it had included a monetary award.

  • R.S., c. S-19, s. 52
  • 1974-75-76, c. 18, s. 7

Certificate of Judgment

Marginal note:Judgment to be carried out by court below

 The judgment of the Court in appeal shall be certified by the Registrar to the proper officer of the court of original jurisdiction, who shall make all proper and necessary entries thereof, and all subsequent proceedings may be taken thereon as if the judgment had been given or pronounced in the last mentioned court.

  • R.S., c. S-19, s. 53

Judgment Final and Conclusive

Marginal note:Exclusive ultimate appellate jurisdiction

 The Court shall have and exercise exclusive ultimate appellate civil and criminal jurisdiction within and for Canada, and the judgment of the Court is, in all cases, final and conclusive.

  • R.S., c. S-19, s. 54

Special Jurisdiction

References by Governor in Council

Marginal note:Referring certain questions for opinion

  •  (1) The Governor in Council may refer to the Court for hearing and consideration important questions of law or fact concerning

    • (a) the interpretation of the Constitution Acts;

    • (b) the constitutionality or interpretation of any federal or provincial legislation;

    • (c) the appellate jurisdiction respecting educational matters, by the Constitution Act, 1867, or by any other Act or law vested in the Governor in Council; or

    • (d) the powers of the Parliament of Canada, or of the legislatures of the provinces, or of the respective governments thereof, whether or not the particular power in question has been or is proposed to be exercised.

  • Marginal note:Other questions

    (2) The Governor in Council may refer to the Court for hearing and consideration important questions of law or fact concerning any matter, whether or not in the opinion of the Court ejusdem generis with the enumerations contained in subsection (1), with reference to which the Governor in Council sees fit to submit any such question.

  • Marginal note:Questions deemed important

    (3) Any question concerning any of the matters mentioned in subsections (1) and (2), and referred to the Court by the Governor in Council, shall be conclusively deemed to be an important question.

  • Marginal note:Opinion of Court

    (4) Where a reference is made to the Court under subsection (1) or (2), it is the duty of the Court to hear and consider it and to answer each question so referred, and the Court shall certify to the Governor in Council, for his information, its opinion on each question, with the reasons for each answer, and the opinion shall be pronounced in like manner as in the case of a judgment on an appeal to the Court, and any judges who differ from the opinion of the majority shall in like manner certify their opinions and their reasons.

  • Marginal note:Notice to be given to provinces interested

    (5) Where the question relates to the constitutional validity of any Act passed by the legislature of any province, or of any provision in any such Act, or in case, for any reason, the government of any province has any special interest in any such question, the attorney general of the province shall be notified of the hearing in order that the attorney general may be heard if he thinks fit.

  • Marginal note:Notice to interested persons

    (6) The Court has power to direct that any person interested or, where there is a class of persons interested, any one or more persons as representatives of that class shall be notified of the hearing on any reference under this section, and those persons are entitled to be heard thereon.

  • Marginal note:Appointment of counsel by Court

    (7) The Court may, in its discretion, request any counsel to argue the case with respect to any interest that is affected and with respect to which counsel does not appear, and the reasonable expenses thereby occasioned may be paid by the Minister of Finance out of any moneys appropriated by Parliament for expenses of litigation.

  • R.S., c. S-19, s. 55

References by Senate or House of Commons

Marginal note:Report on private bill or petition

 The Court, or any two of the judges, shall examine and report on any private bill or petition for a private bill presented to the Senate or House of Commons and referred to the Court under any rules or orders made by the Senate or House of Commons.

  • R.S., c. S-19, s. 56


Marginal note:Writ of certiorari

 A writ of certiorari may, by order of the Court or a judge, issue out of the Court to bring up any papers or other proceedings had or taken before any court, judge or justice of the peace, and that are considered necessary with a view to any inquiry, appeal or other proceeding had or to be had before the Court.

  • R.S., c. S-19, s. 61

Procedure in Appeals

The Appeal

Marginal note:Proceedings in appeal

 Proceedings on an appeal shall, when not otherwise provided for by this Act, the Act providing for the appeal or the general rules and orders of the Court, be in conformity with any order made, on application by a party to the appeal, by the Chief Justice or, in the absence of the Chief Justice, by the senior puisne judge present.

  • R.S., c. S-19, s. 63
  • R.S., c. 44(1st Supp.), s. 5

Marginal note:Limited appeal

 The appellant may appeal from the whole or any part of any judgment or order and, if the appellant intends to limit the appeal, the notice of appeal shall so specify.

  • R.S., c. S-19, s. 64

Marginal note:Time periods for appeals

  •  (1) Subject to this Act or any other Act of Parliament, the following provisions with respect to time periods apply to proceedings in appeals:

    • (a) in the case of an appeal for which leave to appeal is required, the notice of application for leave to appeal and all materials necessary for the application shall be served on all other parties to the case and filed with the Registrar of the Court within sixty days after the date of the judgment appealed from; and

    • (b) in the case of an appeal for which leave to appeal is not required or in the case of an appeal for which leave to appeal is required and has been granted, a notice of appeal shall be served on all other parties to the case and filed with the Registrar of the Court within thirty days after the date of the judgment appealed from or the date of the judgment granting leave, as the case may be.

  • Marginal note:Computation of time periods

    (2) The month of July shall be excluded in the computation of a time period referred to in subsection (1).

  • R.S., 1985, c. S-26, s. 58
  • R.S., 1985, c. 34 (3rd Supp.), s. 5
  • 1997, c. 18, s. 139
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