The criminal appeal process is complex and not well understood. It derives from a number of sources, which are not always consistent and not always clear.
Personal freedom and liberty are crucial. The stakes are high for anyone convicted of an offense. Prompt access to an appeal system that is clear and comprehensive is critical.
The challenge accepted by the Alberta Law Reform Institute, and taken up by its working group of judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers and academics, was to bring clarity and logic to this complex area. Final Report 101 sets out a simple comprehensive procedure, from start to finish, including a step-by-step description of the process. It begins with the filing of a notice of appeal; the submission by both appellant and respondent of materials and evidence to support the appeal; the presentation of oral argument at the hearing; and concludes with the issue of an order by the court.
The Report also identifies necessary reforms to implement the process and describes what matters can be dealt with by court officers, duty judges and hearing panels.