Crossing the Filing Deadline Strategies For Extending Time to File a Leave Application

The deadline for filing your leave application is looming. Or worse, the deadline has already passed you by. Well, take heart–all may not be lost. If you think you might need an extension of time to file an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, here are some steps to follow.

1. Every effort should be made to serve and file the leave application on time. The Court is not unreasonable about granting a necessary extension of time, but a number of factors will be considered, conditions may be imposed, and there’s no guarantee that an extension of time will be granted.

2. Give the other parties written notice of your intention to seek leave to appeal. Ideally, this should be done by the filing deadline. But if the deadline has already passed, notify the other parties right away.

3. File the leave application as soon as possible after the deadline. Just because you’ve missed the deadline, don’t decide to relax and file your application at some later, more convenient time. Even though the deadline has passed, the leave application should be treated as a priority and filed as soon as possible.

4. File the motion to extend time together with the leave application. The Court has indicated that this is the proper practice, as opposed to filing the motion in advance. In any event, the motion and leave application will usually be decided together by the same panel of judges. This practice allows the judges to consider the merits of the leave application before deciding on the motion, but it also means you won’t know in advance if an extension of time will be granted.

5. Address these factors in your motion for an extension of time. According to the Court in Roberge v R., [2005] 2 SCR 469, the ultimate question on a motion to extend time is whether justice requires that an extension be granted, considering all the circumstances of the case, including the six factors set out below:

a) whether the applicant communicated a bona fide intention to seek leave to appeal to the other side within the time allowed;

b) whether counsel moved diligently;

c) whether a proper explanation has been offered for the delay;

d) the extent of the delay;

e) whether granting or denying the delay will unduly prejudice one of the parties; and

f) the merits of the leave application.

6. Be aware that terms may be imposed. A motion for an extension of time may be contested by the opposing party, and terms may be imposed by the Court. Terms may include special filing deadlines, payment of security for costs, costs in any event of the motion, or payment of costs owing in the court below.