How does the Divisional Court work in Ontario?

Home > Divisional Court

The Divisional Court is a branch of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. It is an appeal court, not a trial court. It hears appeals and applications for judicial review.

The Divisional Court may hear the following types of appeals:

1. Appeals from Final Orders of Judges


Under sections 19(1) and 19(1.2) of the Courts of Justice Act, an appeal goes to the Divisional Court from a “final order” of a judge of the Superior Court of Justice:

  • for a single payment of $50,000 or less, excluding costs;

  • for periodic payments that amount to $50,000 or less for the 12 months starting on the date the first payment is due, excluding costs;

  • dismissing a claim for $50,000 or less; or

  • dismissing a claim for more than $50,000 where the judge or jury indicates that if the claim had succeeded, they would have awarded $50,000 or less.


2. Appeals from Interlocutory Orders


Interlocutory orders are orders that are not final. Under section 19(1) of the Courts of Justice Act, an appeal from an interlocutory order of a judge of the Superior Court of Justice goes to the Divisional Court only after the party who wants to appeal gets "leave" (permission) of the court to do so. A motion must be brought asking the court for permission to bring the appeal. 

3. Appeals from Masters' Orders


Under section 19(1) of the Courts of Justice Act, an appeal from a final order of a master or case management master goes to the Divisional Court.

4. Combined Appeals from the Superior Court of Justice


Under section 19(2) of the Courts of Justice Act, an appeal to the Superior Court of Justice and an appeal to the Divisional Court within the same proceeding may be combined and heard by the Divisional Court. If an appeal has been started in the Superior Court of Justice, a motion may be brought to transfer it to the Divisional Court for the purpose of a combined appeal.

5. Appeals from a Final Order of the Small Claims Court


According to O. Reg. 626/00 Small Claims Court Jurisdiction and Appeal Limit under the Courts of Justice Act, an appeal goes to the Divisional Court from a final order of the Small Claims Court in an action:

  • for the payment of money in excess of $2,500, excluding costs; or

  • for the recovery of possession of personal property exceeding $2,500 in value


6. Statutory Appeals


The appeals described above are provided for in the Courts of Justice Act. However, other Ontario legislation also provides for appeals to the Divisional Court from the decisions of various tribunals and statutory decision makers. For example:

  • Compensation for Victims of Crime Act,​

  • Health Insurance Act,

  • Residential Tenancies Act, 2006

  • Many statutes relating to professional disciplinary matters also provide for appeals to the Divisional Court. For example:

  • Architects Act,

  • Ontario College of Teachers Act, 1996,

  • Police Services Act,

  • Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991


It is necessary to read the specific legislation before deciding whether an appeal to the Divisional Court is the correct appeal route.

7. Appeals from the Family Court


The Family Court is a branch of the Superior Court of Justice and is located in various centres across the province. Appeals of interlocutory orders of the Family Court go to the Divisional Court. The person seeking to appeal the order must first bring a motion asking the court for leave to appeal the interlocutory order. Appeals of final orders of the Family Court go to the Divisional Court, without the need to bring a motion for leave, except where the order was made under the Divorce Act (Canada), in which case the appeal goes to the Court of Appeal.

Who hears Divisional Court appeals?
 

In general, the Divisional Court sits in panels of three judges of the Superior Court of Justice. However, in some circumstances, Divisional Court hearings may be held before a single judge. These circumstances can include:

  • motions in the Divisional Court, including motions for leave to appeal;

  • urgent or expedited matters;

  • appeals from a final order of a master or case management master; or

  • appeals from a final order made in Small Claims Court.

How much will it cost me to bring or respond to an appeal in Divisional Court?

 

We charge a flat fee of $5,000 plus HST and disbursements (expenses) to represent appellants and respondents in Divisional Court. This fee can be paid online by credit card. 

 

Click here to read an example of one of our successful cases in the Divisional Court. 

Guides