About the Court of Appeal
The Court of Appeal is the highest court in the province. It hears appeals from the Supreme Court, from the Provincial Court on some criminal matters, and reviews and appeals from some administrative boards and tribunals. For the Court's 100th Anniversary, a documentary history of the Court was prepared titled "Though the Heavens Fall: 100 Years of the B.C. Court of Appeal" that can be viewed here.
The Court of Appeal is constituted by the Court of Appeal Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 77. The Court of Appeal Act provides for a Chief Justice and 14 other justices, as well as for supernumerary justices. Thus, the Court of Appeal actually has more than 15 judges. The Chief Justice of British Columbia heads the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal sits regularly in Vancouver, and as needed, also sits from time to time in Victoria, Kamloops, and Kelowna. Vancouver is the central registry for the Court of Appeal, so any documents related to an appeal can be filed in the Vancouver registry, no matter where the appeal was initiated or where the appeal is ultimately to be heard. Although documents can be filed at the registries in Victoria and Kamloops, all documents are sent from those registries to Vancouver, so it is often preferable to file documents in Vancouver from the outset.
The court sits as a division or panel of three judges most of the time. For some cases, the court will sit as a division of five judges. This can occur in particularly important cases or where it is necessary for the court to overrule a previous decision. Requests for five-judge divisions are made by writing to the Chief Justice (see Practice & Procedure).
Some matters are heard in chambers, where a single justice presides. A decision of a justice in chambers may be reviewed by a panel of three justices sitting as a court (for which counsel should gown).
The Court of Appeal has a registrar, who, in addition to other administrative duties, hears matters related to the settling of orders and bills of costs.
The judges of the British Columbia Court of Appeal are also judges of the Yukon Court of Appeal. The Yukon Court of Appeal sits once a year in Whitehorse. Yukon appeals are also heard in other BC court locations, such as Vancouver.