Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an appeal and application to vary an order?

An application to vary is made to the original court asking that court to vary its own order or judgment. An appeal is brought to a higher court (i.e., the Court of Appeal) asking it to overturn the original court’s order or judgment. You should consult with a lawyer to determine which procedure is the most appropriate for your situation.

Can I view a file? 

Files may be viewed unless there is an order of the court sealing the file or the file is governed by an Act or court order that makes it confidential. You will need to complete and submit to the Registry a Search Request Form and pay a fee in accordance with Schedule B, Division 6, Registrar's Fees of the Alberta Rules of Court. 

Can I represent myself or am I required to have a lawyer represent me?

You may represent yourself at the Court of Appeal; however, because both the law and process are complex, it is always recommended that one seek legal advice. A lawyer can help you determine your chances of success. Some lawyers may provide limited scope retainers should you wish to retain them for only a specific portion of the appeal. For example, a lawyer could be retained to review your file to determine the best course of action for you, to draft your factum, or to attend or prepare documentation for a particular chambers application.

As Registry clerks are not lawyers - and because they are required to remain neutral as between parties - they cannot provide any legal advice. While the case management officer is a lawyer, the case management officer is an officer of the Court and does not act for either party, so cannot give legal advice.

Please note that if you have a lawyer, all communications with the Court must be to and from that lawyer.

What if I do not know which lawyer to hire or cannot afford to hire a lawyer? 

For assistance you may contact the following organizations:


Student Legal Services,
University of Alberta Law School
Edmonton 1-780-492-2226

The Law Society of Alberta Membership Directory
Visit Lawyer Directory

Legal Aid:
(toll free, province wide)

Edmonton Community Legal Centre:

Student Legal Assistance,
University of Calgary Law School
Calgary 1-403-220-6637

Calgary Legal Guidance

Alberta Legal Coaches & Limited Services

The Alberta Legal Information Centre

Will the progress of my appeal be monitored? 

All appeals are monitored by the case management officer.

What if I am not happy with the Court’s decision? Can I appeal it?

If you are not satisfied with a decision of the Court of Appeal, it is recommended that you consult with a lawyer of your choice, a legal aid office or a community legal clinic about your rights and the remedies available to you.

Further information with respect to filing an application for leave (permission) to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada is provided on their website.

How do I file a complaint against a judge?

If your complaint is about the conduct of a Court of Appeal judge (not the decision of a judge), you may forward your concerns, in writing, to the Canadian Judicial Council in accordance with the instructions on their website.