Interim orders in Provincial Court can't be appealed. You can appeal final orders from Provincial Court, and both interim and final orders from Supreme Court.
Before you go further into this section, be clear on whether you're looking to change an order or appeal an order.
People change orders all the time as situations change. Appealing an order is rarely done.
You appeal an order when it has recently been made by a judge and you think the judge made a mistake about the facts or the law. You can't present new evidence on an appeal. You have to appeal the order right away.
You change or vary an order when the facts or circumstances have changed. There's no time limit — usually some time has passed before you go back to court to change your order. You do this in the same court that made your first order. (See When can you change a final order? to find out more.)
Appealing an order is complicated, and it may be expensive if you hire a lawyer.
Appeals are handled by a different court than the one your order was made in — you go to a higher court. For the appeal court to change the order of a lower court, it has to agree that the lower court:
- made a mistake in the law, or
- completely misunderstood the evidence.
Where do you make an appeal?
If you have a final order
- If you have a final order from Provincial Court, apply for an appeal to the BC Supreme Court.
- If you have a final order from BC Supreme Court, apply for an appeal to the BC Court of Appeal.
If you have an interim order
- If you have an interim order from Provincial Court, you can't appeal it. You can go to trial, and the judge will make a new decision on your issues and make a final order.
- If a Supreme Court master made your interim order, you can appeal it to a Supreme Court judge.
- If a Supreme Court judge made your interim order, you can appeal it to the BC Court of Appeal.
- If your order was made under the Family Law Act, you can only appeal it if the Court of Appeal says it's okay to go ahead with the appeal. This is called getting leave to appeal.
- If you have an order under the Divorce Act, you can appeal it directly to the Court of Appeal.
Court of Appeal hearings are held by video conference (Zoom). You can ask to have your appeal handled entirely in writing. You (and your lawyer if you have one) can say which you would prefer on the Court Proceedings Form.
The Court is hearing all chambers applications, including those that aren't urgent, by teleconference (or in writing if you ask). Hearings with the Registrar are held by videoconference, teleconference, or in writing.
If you're a self-represented litigant, Access Pro-Bono has an appeals program. Contact Heather Wojcik at 604-424-8286. You may also may contact the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch at firstname.lastname@example.org for technical support with managing PDF Adobe or Zoom software.
For more information
For more information, see the Court of Appeal’s updated Notice to the Public, and this flowchart of the appeal process. You can also see:
- Tips about getting legal help for more information about where to find with a lawyer to help you with your appeal, and
- Canada's Court System to find out more about which courts are lower courts.
If you feel overwhelmed, try doing something physical. You could go for a walk, dance to your favourite song, or hit the gym.