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Time to Appeal Usually Starts From Release of Reasons – But Not Always

The time to commence an appeal generally starts when the reasons for the decision are released (either orally or in writing), not from the date that the judgment is settled and issued.

However, as indicated in the recent Court of Appeal decision of Gefen v. Gaertner, 2021 ONCA 631, this general rule can be displaced where the reasons provides otherwise, where the reasons are uncertain on a point, or where something of substance has been missed in the reasons.

In the case at hand, the Court of Appeal stated that the time to appeal started when the judgment was settled and issued. Prior to that date, the appellant did not know that the paragraph of the judgment being appealed would form part of the judgment. The paragraph in question was not part of the trial judge’s “summary of disposition” in her reasons.

Essentially, the appellant was not able to discern from the reasons that there was a term in the formal judgment that she wanted to appeal.