Crown Law Office - Criminal

Office Snapshot

  • Location: Toronto
  • Lawyers: 79
  • Articling Students: 10
  • Summer Law Students: 6
  • Types of Law: Criminal

Who we are

The Crown Law Office - Criminal is one of the premier criminal law offices in Canada. With almost 80 lawyers engaged in all aspects of criminal practice, from arguing appeals in the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada, to providing advice to the police, to conducting jury trials, we offer a unique and unparalleled experience to students. We are committed to providing you with excellent training and the tools to become successful prosecutors. Whether your ultimate interest is in prosecution or defence work, at the trial or appeal level, a student experience at the Crown Law Office - Criminal is a decision you will not regret.

Crown counsel are an integral part of the administration of justice in Ontario. The Crown's crucial quasi-judicial role of serving the public interest requires counsel to balance the dual responsibilities of vigorous advocate and minister of justice. The work is always stimulating and fulfilling.

What we do


We are responsible for virtually all criminal appeals of indictable matters in Ontario. The majority of our work involves the preparation and argument of appeals to the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada. Counsel are responsible for:

  • Determining the Crown's position on the appeal
  • Preparing the factum
  • Making oral argument at the hearing of the appeal.

While most cases involve responding to appeals by those convicted of criminal offences, we are also responsible for Crown appeals against acquittals, stays of proceedings, and sentence.

Specialized Trials

Conducting trials throughout the province is another major component of the Crown Law Office - Criminal's role in the administration of criminal justice. Some trials are designated within the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) as "special prosecutions." These include significant commercial crime offences, stock market manipulations, organized crime enterprises, and a wide variety of offences against the public at large, such as health frauds, and the willful promotion of hatred.

Another significant part of the trial practice is known as "justice prosecutions." These involve the prosecution of serious offences committed by people involved in the administration of justice, including police officers and lawyers.

Other Legal Services Provided by the Office

The Crown Law Office - Criminal is privileged to have a wide variety of responsibilities in the criminal law sphere. In addition to its exciting appellate and trial work, counsel in the office regularly:

  • Provide legal advice to police investigating criminal offences, and to Crowns prosecuting cases, throughout the province
  • Assist police agencies in the areas of search warrants and wiretaps
  • Assist the federal Department of Justice with requests for the extradition of alleged fugitive offenders from foreign jurisdictions around the world
  • Facilitate international requests for evidence made under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty
  • Assist in the ongoing education of Crowns, police, and judges throughout the province
  • Participate in the restraint, management and forfeiture of the assets of criminal organizations and terrorist groups
  • Provide legal advice directly to the Attorney General in relation to matters requiring his or her consent under the Criminal Code including dangerous offender applications, direct indictments and the institution of hate crime charges
  • Respond to applications to the federal Minister of Justice under s.696.1 of the Criminal Code where it is alleged that there has been a wrongful conviction.

Our major cases

Counsel in the Crown Law Office - Criminal argued many of the leading criminal cases that you study in law school. These include such cases from the Supreme Court of Canada as:

  • R. v. Khelawon: The admissibility of hearsay evidence
  • R. v. Mann: The guiding principles for police searches during investigative detention
  • R. v. Handy: The admissibility of similar act evidence
  • R. v. Proulx: The use of conditional sentences
  • R. .v. M.(A.): Students' expectations of privacy in a school-setting
  • R. v. Suberu: The right to counsel during investigative detention

What students do


Crown Law Office - Criminal articling students are introduced to the office through an orientation week with seminars on research tools, oral and written advocacy, the conduct of provincial offences prosecutions and inmate appeals. Ongoing articling-specific educational seminars are provided throughout the year. These usually include tours of the Centre of Forensic Sciences, the Coroner's Office, a federal penitentiary and a provincial jail. In addition, students are able to meet with judges and defence counsel on a variety of subjects. Students are also included in all office and MAG-wide educational programs.

Most students spend the majority of their articles assisting counsel in the preparation of appeals. This involves working closely with a variety of counsel in the office and performing tasks such as:

Most students spend the majority of their articles assisting counsel in the preparation of appeals. This involves working closely with a variety of counsel in the office and performing tasks such as:

  • Researching legal issues
  • Drafting legal memoranda
  • Summarizing trial transcript
  • Writing draft facta.

This work provides students with a unique opportunity to develop strong skills in research, legal analysis, and written advocacy.

Students also have the opportunity to attend court for the oral hearing of any appeal that they work on, whether the appeal is being heard in the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court of Canada. This experience allows students to see the judicial response to arguments that they helped formulate. We try to ensure that every student has the opportunity to participate in, or observe, an appeal in the Supreme Court of Canada.

Another valuable appeal experience offered to students is the opportunity to assist counsel in responding to appeals by unrepresented inmates. The Court of Appeal hears these cases once a month in Toronto and every second month in Kingston. The Court hears a significant number of cases in one day and Crown counsel rely heavily on student assistance in preparation for these appeals.

In addition, many students have the opportunity to assist in a prosecution. This may involve tasks such as:

  • Participating in witness interviews
  • Summarizing court proceedings
  • Conducting legal research
  • Attending at court

This trial experience gives students the exciting opportunity to watch evidence unfold in court and to assist in shaping how a case is presented.

To make sure that students also develop their oral advocacy skills, they are trained by provincial prosecutors and then given the opportunity to prosecute provincial offences on their own. This provides students with a valuable opportunity to hone their own litigation techniques in an optimal learning environment - a courtroom.

Since many students go on to become Assistant Crown Attorneys in trial offices across the province, all students are provided with the opportunity to shadow a trial Crown for one week during the articling term. This provides students with a sense of life as a trial Crown.

Summer Law

Summer law students are generally provided with a condensed version of the articling program and are involved in a similar variety of work. Each summer law student is assigned a counsel as mentor to ensure a well-rounded summer experience. Many summer law students apply to return to the Crown Law Office - Criminal for their articles.

Why choose us

Students selected to work at the Crown Law Office - Criminal have the most comprehensive and rewarding criminal articles in Canada. Students are presented with the opportunity to take on a great deal of responsibility in assisting counsel in formulating strategic positions and legal arguments. Often, this work results in precedent-setting judgments that reflect student input. At the conclusion of your articles, you will have all the tools you need to assume the challenges of starting a career in criminal law. The vast majority of students who article with us pursue rewarding careers as prosecutors.

We rely heavily on the articling program as a main source of new counsel. The most junior counsel in our office immediately take carriage of their own appeals in the Court of Appeal - an opportunity rarely seen in the private sector. A career as counsel allows you to serve the public interest and litigate increasingly challenging cases. It also may provide opportunities for international experiences. A number of counsel have been able to join international prosecutorial teams conducting trials of war criminals in the Hague and Arusha. Others have been invited to teach advocacy around the world.

Trial offices around the province recognize that we provide an excellent training program to a large group of students and they consistently seek to hire our students to become trial Crowns. You will find former Crown Law Office - Criminal articling students in every trial office in Toronto, and in many trial offices around the province.

Students can also take other career paths. A number of former students and counsel are successful members of the defence bar. Others have pursued careers as law professors. The Crown Law Office - Criminal has an impressive and distinguished group of alumni. A number of former counsel or students are now members of the judiciary and prominent members of the defence bar including:

Justices of the Court of Appeal for Ontario

  • The Hon. David Doherty
  • The Hon. David Watt

Justices of the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario

  • The Hon. Michael Brown
  • The Hon. Robert Clark
  • The Hon. S. Casey Hill
  • The Hon. Ian MacDonnell
  • The Hon. Faye McWatt
  • The Hon. Gisele Miller
  • The Hon. Renee Pomerance
  • The Hon. James Ramsay
  • The Hon. Edward Then
  • The Hon. Brian Trafford
  • The Hon. Gary Trotter
  • The Hon. Bonnie Wein

Justices of the Ontario Court of Justice

  • The Hon. Feroza Bhabha
  • The Hon. James Blacklock
  • The Hon. Miriam Bloomenfeld
  • The Hon. Carol Brewer
  • The Hon. Beverly Brown
  • The Hon. Jeff Casey
  • The Hon. Paul Currie
  • The Hon. Gail Dobney
  • The Hon. Bruce Duncan
  • The Hon. David Fairgrieve
  • The Hon. Lawrence Feldman
  • The Hon. Robert Kelly
  • The Hon. Eric Libman
  • The Hon. Deborah Livingstone
  • The Hon. Sally Marin
  • The Hon. Cathy Mocha
  • The Hon. John Richie
  • The Hon. Paul Robertson
  • The Hon. Geraldine Sparrow
  • The Hon. Ann Watson
  • The Hon. William Wolski

Defence Counsel

  • Susan Chapman
  • Michael Code
  • Brian Greenspan
  • Edward Greenspan Q.C.
  • David Humphrey
  • Scott Hutchison

Contact us

Deborah Krick
Co-chair, Crown Law Office - Criminal Articling Program

Roger Shallow
Co-chair, Crown Law Office - Criminal Articling Program

Craig Harper
Crown Law Office - Criminal Summer Student Co-ordinator

Megan Stephens
Crown Law Office - Criminal Summer Student Co-ordinator