We are leading appellate litigators
McCarthy Tétrault handles many of Canada’s most important appeals and judicial review proceedings. We appear frequently in the Supreme Court of Canada and in appellate courts across the country.
Our appellate litigators have the skills and experience required to attack and defend judgments and government decisions at all levels. We bring exceptional written and oral advocacy to bear on our cases, backed by a deep understanding of the evidence, careful legal research and reasoning, and a knack for presenting complex facts and principles simply and persuasively. Our advocates are sought after for appellate representation not only in commercial disputes, but also in constitutional and administrative cases.
McCarthy Tétrault offers a comprehensive range of services, including:
- acting for appellants and respondents in appeals, references, and judicial reviews, including where we did not act as counsel in the proceedings below;
- acting for interveners in proceedings before appellate courts;
- acting for applicants and respondents in procedural matters, such as leave to appeal applications;
- arguing complex motions and preserving appeal rights in courts of first instance;
- assessing the viability of potential appeals;
- assisting other lawyers and law firms in the preparation of appeals; and
- offering opinions on complex legal issues.
Our National Appellate Litigation Group provides clients with a nationally integrated platform. We collaborate with other practice areas to deliver teams that support the unique needs of each case, regardless of geography. With the firm’s strategic focus on delivering industry-specific expertise, we also provide clients with deep knowledge across the industries that drive the Canadian and global economies.
Our lawyers have appeared in some of the most high-profile and precedent-setting cases in Canadian legal history. Since 2013, McCarthy Tétrault has acted in 30 of the cases listed among Lexpert’s ‘Top 10 Business Decisions’.
The National Appellate Litigation Group has over 64 members seamlessly integrated across Canada, with offices in major commercial centres including Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montréal. The Group draws upon the experience of over 41 McCarthy Tétrault lawyers who have served as judicial law clerks, including 19 in the Supreme Court of Canada, and 35 in the Courts of Appeal for Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Québec. Additionally, appellate courts frequently cite scholarly publications by McCarthy Tétrault lawyers.
Our active lawyers have argued over 789 appellate cases in eight out of ten provinces and one territory. These include 115 appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada. In the past two years alone, McCarthy Tétrault lawyers have appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada 10 times — four times as counsel for a party, and six times as counsel for an intervener.
Volume of Appeals Across Canada – Current to February 2023
For a list of appeals for all the regions above, please click here.
Our appellate lawyers have represented numerous clients, including corporations, financial institutions, trade groups, non-profit associations and professionals. We have appeared in some of the most high-profile, precedent-setting cases in Canadian legal history, spanning many industries and legal fields. Examples of appeals which our active lawyers have appeared as counsel in include the following:
- Successfully represented the respondent in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada that determines the circumstances in which the Transportation Safety Board may be ordered to disclose on-board recordings in aircraft: Canada (Transportation Safety Board) v. Carroll‑Byrne, 2022 SCC 48
- Successfully represented the respondent and appellant on cross-appeal in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada which outlines the role that the principles of access to justice and legality play in the test for public interest standing: British Columbia (Attorney General) v. Council of Canadians with Disabilities, 2022 SCC 27
- Successfully represented the appellant in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada which establishes the governing legal framework for the duty of honest contractual performance, and examines when Canadian common and civil law courts may engage in bijural analysis in private law cases: M. Callow Inc. v. Zollinger, 2020 SCC 45
- Successfully represented the appellants in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada which quashed an order of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission prohibiting the simultaneous substitution of Canadian for U.S. television commercials during the Super Bowl, and establishes that questions of law raised by administrative decisions are to be reviewed for correctness when subject to statutory appeal rights: Bell Canada v. Canada (Attorney General), 2019 SCC 66
- Successfully represented the respondent and appellant on cross-appeal in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada which holds that copyright in plans of survey belongs to the Crown under the Copyright Act, and is not infringed when such plans are added to Ontario’s electronic land registry system: Keatley Surveying Ltd. v. Teranet Inc., 2019 SCC 43
- Successfully represented the appellant in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada which decides that assets held for disabled tenants under a Henson trust should not disqualify them from being considered for rental assistance by their landlords: A. v. Metro Vancouver Housing Corp., 2019 SCC 4
- Successfully represented the appellants in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada which addresses the circumstances where courts may drawn an adverse inference of causation or apply a presumption of fact in medical liability cases: Benhaim v. St‑Germain, 2016 SCC 48
- Successfully represented the respondents in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada which holds that the judge in pan-national class action proceedings has the discretion to hold a hearing outside his or her territory in conjunction with other judges managing related class actions: Endean v. British Columbia, 2016 SCC 42
- Successfully represented the appellant in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada which establishes the organizing principle of good faith in contractual performance, and the associated duty of honest contractual performance: Bhasin v. Hrynew, 2014 SCC 71
- Successfully represented the appellant in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada that outlines the modern approach to contractual interpretation and determines when commercial arbitration decisions may be appealed on questions of law: Sattva Capital Corp. v. Creston Moly Corp., 2014 SCC 53
For a full list of significant SCC Appeals by subject-area, please click here.
We often work in conjunction with other practice groups to create integrated client service teams to support your unique needs. These teams help us focus our efforts on you, without emphasis placed on geographic considerations. Members of the Group include both junior and senior litigators, enabling us to offer cost-effective legal services tailored to your needs.