What help is available for a criminal appeal?

If you do not agree with the judge’s decision in your criminal case, you can ask the Provincial/Territorial Courts of Appeal or the Federal Court of Appeal to review your case. If the appeal court allows the appeal, it can reverse or change the judge’s decision, or order a new trial or hearing.

If you want to appeal your criminal case, you may be eligible for a legal aid certificate if you qualify financially and your case has merit. (If you get a legal aid certificate, it means that Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) will pay a lawyer to work for you.)

In most cases, when you are appealing your case, the lawyer who represented you at your trial or hearing will prepare the letter to LAO for you, explaining the merits of an appeal or review by a judge. A LAO staff lawyer will then review your case and determine if LAO will fund your appeal.

Note: If you have not yet been sentenced for a criminal offence, wait until you are sentenced before you request the certificate for your appeal.

If you would like to learn more about the steps involved in appealing a court case decision in Canada, visit The Appeal Process in Canada’s Court System.