Court Martial Appeal Court  of Canada
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Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada

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Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Do I have the right to appeal a decision of a Court Martial?
  2. Can the Minister appeal the decisions of a Court Martial?
  3. On what grounds may I appeal?
  4. How do I commence an appeal?
  5. How do I find a lawyer to represent me before the Court?
  6. Where will my appeal be heard?

Do I have the right to appeal a decision of a Court Martial?

Yes. If you have been convicted by a Court Martial, you have the right to appeal that conviction to the Court Martial Appeal Court. You may also, with the permission of this Court, appeal the sentence. You must, unless you receive the permission of a judge of this Court, begin the appeal process within 30 days of the end of the proceeding that convicted you.

Can the Minister appeal the decisions of a Court Martial?

Yes. The Minister of National Defence is entitled to appeal Court Martial decisions which acquit you of any charges against you or any other decisions of the Court Martial which have the effect of terminating proceedings against you. The Minister can also, with permission of this Court, appeal the sentence imposed on you by a Court Martial. The Minister must begin the appeal process within 30 days of the end of the proceedings of the Court Martial, unless permission is received from a judge of this Court.

On what grounds may I appeal?

You may appeal a finding of guilt made against you on the grounds that:

  • the Court Martial made an error in its interpretation of the law; or
  • the Court Martial made an error in applying that law to the facts of your case.

You may appeal the sentence registered against you on the grounds that:

  • the Court Martial made an error in its interpretation of the law in sentencing you; or
  • that the sentence was too severe (provided that the sentence is not fixed by law and you receive permission from this Court).

How do I commence an appeal?

How much time do I have?

If you intend to appeal a conviction and/or sentence, you must inform the Court that you intend to do so within 30 days of the end of your Court Martial. This time limit may be extended, but only with the permission of a Judge of this Court.

How do I inform the Court and Minister of my appeal?

An appeal is commenced by filing a Notice of Appeal using the form ("Form A") found at QR&O 115.08. A copy of the form should be delivered to you by the Officer of the Court immediately upon the end of your Court Martial proceedings. The lawyer who represented you before the Court Martial should be able to assist you in filling out the form.

Note that if you are appealing your sentence, the notice will also ask for leave to appeal. This application for the Court's permission to appeal your sentence will normally be heard at the same time as the appeal itself.

If you do not yet have a lawyer to represent you on your appeal, you may complete the form yourself, if necessary. What is important is that you provide the Court and the Minister with information about the grounds of your appeal and the circumstances and principles upon which you will rely. The notice must be signed.

Once your Notice is filed, the Registry will provide you with information on how to serve it on the Minister.

To whom do I deliver my Notice of Appeal?

Your Notice of Appeal must be delivered to the Registry of the Court Martial Appeal Court. The principal office of the Registry is located in Ottawa with other offices located at:

If the requirements of the Canadian Forces or other circumstances beyond your control make it impractical for you to deliver your Notice of Appeal to the Court Registry, you may deliver it to a superior officer who will forward it to the Court.

How do I find a lawyer to represent me before the Court?

If you are appealing a conviction or sentence, you have a number of options in seeking a lawyer.

First, you may request that a lawyer from the office of Defence Counsel Services (DCS) be appointed to represent you. To do so, you must submit a memorandum through your chain of command to DCS. Your request must be accompanied by a copy of your Notice of Appeal and be submitted within 21 days of filing your Notice with the Court. You should also provide a letter from the lawyer who represented you at the Court Martial indicating whether in his or her opinion your appeal has legal merit. If you cannot obtain such a letter, you may request that DCS provide you with an opinion. Your request will be forwarded to an Appeal Committee. If the committee believes the appeal has legal merit, it will approve the appointment of a lawyer by DCS at no expense to you.

Second, you may hire a civilian lawyer of your choice, at your expense. Depending upon your province of residence, you may be entitled to financial assistance under a legal aid plan. Your orderly room should be able to provide you with contact information.

If the Minister appeals the Court Martial decision, you are automatically entitled to be represented at no expense by a DCS lawyer. You may instead choose to hire a civilian lawyer at your own expense.

Where will my appeal be heard?

The Chief Justice will designate the time and place of the hearing. Hearings are normally held in locations where the Court has offices. You may request that the Court hold its hearing in a location that is convenient for you.


The Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada's Internet Web Site contains links to other related World Wide Web Internet sites that may offer certain resources to visitors. Since the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada is not responsible for the availability of these outside resources, or their contents, you should direct any concerns regarding any external link to the site administrator or webmaster of the particular site.

Furthermore, the inclusion of a commercial enterprise or organization on a listing of links on our website is neither to be interpreted as being exhaustive nor that the services they may offer are necessarily endorsed by the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada. Rather they are listed here as a matter of convenience and / or upon specific request of site visitors.

If there are other external sites that you would like to suggest we add to our listings, please contact reception@cas-satj.gc.ca and suggest them for possible inclusion.

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Date Modified:
 2015-04-22