Lesson 7: Court of Appeal for BC


Grade Level



2-3 periods

Lesson Plan (PDF)


The first sitting of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia took place in 1910. This Lesson will educate students about what the court is, what it does, and how is upholds values that are cornerstones of a free and democratic society. Students will also learn how the court has evolved for over a 100 years.


Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain the purpose and function of the Court of Appeal for BC, and how it fits within our justice system
  • Explain what appeals are and why they are important
  • Describe how the Court of Appeal for BC has been an important part of the legal processes in this province for over a 100 years
  • Describe how the Court of Appeal for BC has reflected and helped define the evolution of social values and attitudes in British Columbia
  • Understand some of the leading cases heard by the Court of Appeal for BC and describe the impact they have had on the lives of British Columbians

Focus Questions

  1. What does the Court of Appeal do?
  2. Why are appeals important?
  3. How does the Court of Appeal reflect changing social values and attitudes? What are some examples of this?

Teaching Summary       

Topics 1, 2, 3 & 4: Jurisdiction of the Court, Civil Appeals, Criminal Appeals & No New Evidence

Activity 1 covers Topics 1-4. This is a web-quest activity. Students will receive Handout 1: Court of Appeal for BC which has information on the Court of Appeal as well as 6 questions. The handout provides the link to www.CourtsofBC.ca, where they can find additional information required to answer the questions on this handout.

Topic 5: Though the Heavens Fall – Documentary Portrait of the Last 100 Years

This topic is covered in Activity 2 and 3. Activity 2 involves showing of a 48-minute video titled “Though Heavens Fall.” This video documents the history of the Court of Appeal.

Activity 3 is a group activity. Provide students with Handout 2: Key Concepts in “Though the Heavens Fall.” Then give them either Handout 3: Time Warp at the Court of Appeal for BC, which has 3 discussion questions or Handout 4: The Role of Court and Appeal Judges, which has six discussion questions. Afterwards, the questions will be discussed as a class.