Written outline of argument

You’re required to prepare and file a written outline of argument before the Court of Appeal hears your matter.

The outline is a written statement of the issues and arguments supporting your case that you believe will convince the Court of Appeal. Keep it concise—preferably no more than 10 pages.

Lodge your outline within the time set by the court and serve it on the other party.

Lodging your outline of argument

Place the name of all people who prepared the outline, and on whose behalf, at the end of the outline, as well as the date of lodgment in the registry.

Print your outline of argument double-sided on A4 paper.

If you lodge outside the deadline, give the Court of Appeal registry an explanation in writing or it may not be accepted for filing. Explain why you’re lodging after the due date.

Provide the explanation in either the outline of argument or a separate document. If you don’t include it with your outline, file five copies of your explanation in the court registry and serve a copy on all parties.

Additionally, if your outline of argument is more than 10 pages, give the Court of Appeal registry an explanation in writing, including why it exceeds 10 pages and why it should be accepted. The court may refuse a written outline that is longer than 10 pages.

Below is advice on writing and submitting your outline of argument for civil and criminal cases.

Civil cases

The appellant (the person appealing) must lodge within 28 days of filing the notice of appeal or application for leave to appeal (unless varied by the court).

The respondent must lodge within 21 days of receiving the appellant’s outline (unless varied by the court).

Writing your outline of argument

  • Briefly explain what the appeal or application is about.
  • Summarise the judge’s reasons in the primary court or tribunal if relevant to the points taken on appeal.
  • Write about only what is relevant to the appeal, as oral argument at the hearing is generally restricted to the issues raised in the outline of argument.
  • Provide precise references to the evidence you’re relying on in connection with any disputed factual conclusion. When referring to filed material, provide page references.
  • If a party has filed and served an indexed and paginated bundle of documents, ensure the page references in the outline correspond with those in the paginated bundle.
  • Where relevant, clarify which points of your opponent’s outline your accept or reject.

Replying to a respondent’s outline of argument

The appellant may lodge a reply within seven days of being served with the respondent’s outline of argument.

Criminal cases

The appellant must lodge within 28 days of the hearing date (unless varied by the court).

The respondent must lodge within 14 days of the hearing date (unless varied by the court).

Writing your outline of argument

  • Focus on the grounds of appeal in the notice of appeal or application for leave, as oral argument is usually restricted to issues raised by the grounds of appeal and the outline.
  • Provide a concise logical statement on the relevant factual conclusions.
  • State why the Court of Appeal should form the factual conclusions you seek.
  • Include precise references to the evidence you’re relying on in connection with each disputed factual conclusion.
  • Develop a concise legal summary of submissions.
  • Where relevant, clarify which points of your opponent’s outline your accept or reject and don’t repeat accurate information already contained their outline.

For more detail, see the Supreme Court Practice direction 3/2013.