Step 6: Judgment Rendered & Right to Appeal
For the final blog in our Let’s Talk About Litigation series we will be talking about judgments and the right to appeal.
Once a judge has reached a determination of the issues following a trial, they will render a judgment. A judgment is a final determination of the issues within a civil action, which can be heard orally or in writing. Either way, once judgment has been rendered it will be written into an order, which will be entered into the court registry. While registering an order into the court registry is administratively required, a judgment takes effect the day it is rendered (unless noted otherwise).
By their very nature lawsuits are contentious. Losing parties often disagree with the judgement’s outcome, which can lead to parties applying to a higher court for a reversal of the lower court’s decision, also known as an appeal. In Ontario there is often an automatic right to appeal. There are many reasons a party may seek to appeal, though they are usually premised on an error or mistake which occurred within the trial or in a judgement’s reasoning. Depending on the circumstances and level of court in which the trial occurred, when initiating an appeal a party needs to file either a notice of appeal or a motion for leave to appeal. In Ontario, the window to file these documents is relatively short, and depending on the court a party is appealing to, the window is generally between 15 to 30 days from the date of judgement.
Despite there being an automatic right to appeal in many cases, careful consideration should be given before deciding whether or not to appeal a judgement. While seeking an appeal may be within a party’s rights, in addition to their own legal expenses, the losing party in a civil action is frequently ordered to pay a percentage of the winning party’s legal costs. As such, if the party were to also loose on appeal, they would incur further expenses. As with all steps of a lawsuit, a candid conversation about the risks and benefits of this decision should be had with your lawyer.
And with that, our Let’s Talk About Litigation series has come to an end. Over the last seven weeks we have walked through the steps of a civil action within Ontario. From the structure of the Ontario court system, to pleadings, motions, trials, judgments and beyond, this series was intended to be a short and accessible overview on the procedures and terminology you will come across in a lawsuit. There are many twists and turns which can arise in a lawsuit, hopefully this series has provided readers with some information to prepare them for what procedures they will go through if they find themselves facing a civil action.
If you would like to discuss a potential civil action, our team of experienced litigators can help. Contact us online for a free legal consultation or call 705-526-1471 to speak directly with one of our lawyers