DAM v JLH, 2016 ABCA 252


12.70: Powers of Court on appeal
12.71: Appeal from decision of Court of Queen’s Bench sitting as appeal court
14.17: Filing the Appeal Record – fast track appeals
14.5: Appeals only with permission
14.64: Failure to meet deadlines

Case Summary

The Applicant, DAM, in a family law dispute first sought permission under Rule 14.5(1)(i) to appeal the Decision of Martin J. of the Court of Queen’s Bench. Rule 14.5(1)(i) provides that a party requires permission to appeal any decision of the Court of Queen’s Bench sitting as an Appeal Court under Rule 12.71. Rule 12.71 applies to appeals heard by the Court of Queen’s Bench pursuant to the Family Law Act, SA 2003, c F-4.5. Martin J. dismissed DAM’s Appeal and confirmed the Order of Judge Cook-Stanhope from the Provincial Court restricting DAM’s access to his child. Justice Watson noted that the Decision may not be appealed to a panel of the Court of Appeal unless the Appeal is a question of law or jurisdiction, and unless the party has permission from a single Justice of the Court of Appeal.

Watson J.A. stated that a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench had powers under Rule 12.70 to allow the Appeal or to make any Order that the original Provincial Court Judge could have made. Watson J.A. determined that there had not been any mistake in law or jurisdiction, and held that there was no basis to grant DAM permission to appeal to a panel of the Court of Appeal.

DAM also sought an Order restoring an Appeal that had been struck. The Case Management Officer at the Court of Appeal had delivered a letter striking the Appeal. The letter made reference to Rule 14.17, which applies to timelines in fast track Appeals, and Rule 14.64, which allows a Registrar to strike the Appeal if the Appellant has failed to meet certain deadlines. Watson J.A. dismissed the Application to restore the Appeal, and stated that procedural errors on the part of unrepresented litigants are not an excuse for missing deadlines. Watson J.A. observed that the Rules of Court govern the Courts’ processes, and there is no different set of rules for self-represented litigants.

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