Criminal Law

Text size: larger | smaller

Please note: the page will print without the top and left navigation bars and in black and white only.

In this section you will find the following information:

About Criminal Law

The Criminal Code of Canada is federal legislation that sets out criminal law and procedure in Canada. Criminal law prohibits harmful or undesirable conduct, and sets out the processes in which the Crown responds to it. Common Criminal Code offences include:

  • Assault
  • Impaired driving
  • Break and enter
  • Robbery
  • Uttering threats
  • Failure to comply with bail and/or probation.

Who is involved in a criminal court case?

  • Crown Attorney - A lawyer who prosecutes criminal matters on behalf of the Crown.
  • Defence counsel - A lawyer who represents a defendant or accused person in a criminal case.
  • Duty counsel – Legal Aid lawyers at the court who can help people who have not hired a lawyer on their first appearance date. Duty Counsel may help with guilty pleas for people who qualify. Duty Counsel may also represent accused persons at bail hearings in some circumstances.
  • Defendant (accused) - A person sued in a civil proceeding or accused in a criminal proceeding.
  • Judge - The person authorized to determine legal matters in court.
  • Jury - A group of 12 people sworn to deliver a verdict after considering the evidence presented to them during the trial.
  • Justice of the Peace - A judicial officer who has authority to do a variety of things in criminal matters, including, issuing warrants and hearing bail applications and provincial offence trials.
  • Witness - Someone who provides evidence in a trial.
  • Police - The men and women whose job is to prevent crime, keep order and see that laws are obeyed.
  • Victim Witness Assistance Worker - People who ensure that victims of crime are supported throughout the criminal justice process. They provide information about the court process and referrals to community supports and services.

Learn about more roles (PDF) in the criminal justice system.

The Ministry of Attorney General, Criminal Law Division is responsible for the conduct in Ontario of prosecutions under the Criminal Code and other Federal Statutes such as the Youth Criminal Justice Act, as well as under provincial statutes such as the Highway Traffic Act and the Liquor Licence Act. More...

What Happens in Criminal Court?

If you are charged with a crime you will be given a form telling you when and where you must make your first court appearance. This is not the trial date – it is the starting point for dealing with a criminal charge. You may have several more appearances in court before a trial date is set or the matter is otherwise resolved.

You may be in custody and will be entitled to have a bail hearing before proceeding further with your case.

A trial or preliminary hearing can be scheduled for one hour, or for several days. If you are ordered to appear in court, you must attend at the date and time indicated on the papers given to you. (A preliminary hearing is a court hearing to decide whether the Crown has enough evidence to hold a trial. At the end of the hearing, the accused will either be discharged or ordered to stand trial)

Click on the following links for information if you:

You should arrive at the courthouse at least 30 minutes before you are required to be in court.

Legal Aid Ontario's LawFacts website and the Ontario Court of Justice website also have information about the criminal court process.

What I Need to Know About Going to Court

It is important not to talk or make noise before the opening of court and once court has started. You should act in a way that is respectful to the court.

  • Eating, drinking, and gum chewing are not allowed in the courtroom. The court will provide a glass of water to people who are taking part in the proceedings, including witnesses.
  • Leaning forward and resting on the seat in front of you is not allowed.
  • If you bring a coat to court, do not drape it over the benches.
  • Reading newspapers or magazines is not allowed.
  • When the judge enters or leaves the courtroom you should stand, if you are able.

Am I allowed to bring my cell phone, laptop or other electronic devices into a courtroom?

  • All cellular phones, pagers, and any devices that have a ring tone or make any sound must be turned off.
  • Laptops may be allowed in court with the permission of the judge.
  • Cameras or video recording devices are NOT allowed in the courthouse, unless you have prior permission of the judge.
  • Audio recording devices are NOT allowed (except for note-taking by a lawyer or person representing themselves, or a journalist) unless you have prior permission of the judge.

How should I dress when going to court?

  • People going to court should be properly dressed to show respect for the Court.
  • Hats and sunglasses are not allowed in the courtroom, unless needed for medical or religious reasons.

How to get an Interpreter

English is not my first language.

How do I request a French trial?

You can ask that your trial be conducted in French. Tell your lawyer or Duty Counsel if you will be asking for a French trial.

How do I get a court interpreter?

Whether you are an accused person, a surety, or witness you have the right to request interpretation services in Ontario courts if you do not fully understand or speak English or French.

To make sure that interpretation services are available when you need them, you should ask for an interpreter as soon as you know you will need one. Requesting an interpreter ahead of time allows court staff time to make arrangements for the date and time required.

Your lawyer or Duty Counsel can help you request an interpreter.

When requesting an interpreter, you will need to provide the following information:

    • Language and/or dialect of interpretation
    • Who is requesting interpretation services? An accused? A surety? A witness?
    • Type of appearance [e.g. bail, trial]
    • Date and time interpretation is needed
    • Court location
    • Any other relevant information.
  • If you are an accused in a criminal matter:
    • Often, Duty counsel or your lawyer will ask for an interpreter during a first appearance when it is clear that interpretation services will be needed. This will be done on the court record and the court clerk will file the request and forward it to the court office.
    • If Duty counsel or your lawyer does not ask for an interpreter and you know you will need one, alert the Judge or Justice of the Peace, Duty counsel or your lawyer. This should be done on the record.
  • If you are a surety in a criminal matter who:
    • Requires an interpreter when appearing in court, you should ask the lawyer for the accused person or Duty Counsel to request interpretation services from the court.
    • If going to the courthouse to end your obligation, you should call the court office to ensure that an interpreter will be available for you.
  • If you are counsel in a criminal matter:
    • Give court staff as much notice as possible for interpreter requests.
    • Ensure the court clerk has recorded the request to forward to the court office, if you are requesting interpretation services in court.
    • Phone the court office and speak to the Interpreter Coordinator or designated staff to file a request, if you are requesting services prior to a court appearance. Be prepared to give all relevant information to the assignment. You may also be required to fill out a written request.
  • If you are a witness:
    • Tell the lawyer who contacted you or the police officer who you spoke to that you will require an interpreter and for what language.

Sample Courtroom Layout


Superior Court of Justice


Ontario Court of Justice


Information for Accused

You must appear at court for your first appearance on the date that appears on the papers the police gave you when you were released from police custody. OR, if you were held for a bail hearing, you will see the date on the papers given to you at bail court.

At the end of your first appearance you will be told when you are required to return to court and will be given a reminder slip with the date before you leave the courtroom. You should arrive at court at least 30 minutes before you are required to be in court.

How do I find a lawyer or a paralegal?

Contact the Law Society of Upper Canada at: www.lsuc.on.ca or call 1-800-268-8326 or 416-947-3330 (within the GTA)

Check the yellow pages for listings of criminal lawyers.

How do I apply for Legal Aid?

Call the Client Service Centre at 1-800-668-8258 or speak to a Legal Aid lawyer (Duty Counsel) at the courthouse on the day of your first appearance.

How should I prepare for court?

Read and print this checklist for information on what to expect when you go to court.

Through the province's Justice on Target (JOT) strategy, Ontario courts now give people charged with a criminal offence more information sooner so that more gets done at criminal court appearances to resolve your case faster.

You can also find more information about criminal courts at Legal Aid Ontario's LawFacts website and the Ontario Court of Justice website.

Guide for Accused Persons in Criminal Trials before the Ontario Court of Justice

This Guide provides accused persons with general information about criminal trials. This is not a full or complete review of the criminal process. It does not cover every circumstance that might arise in your case.

This Guide does not provide legal advice. It also does not replace the advice or assistance you would get if you have a lawyer or paralegal representing you in court. You are strongly urged to get advice from a lawyer or paralegal about your legal options and the possible penalties you could face.

Information for Victims of Crime

Help for Victims

I am a victim of crime. Where can I find help?

  • The Ontario Victim Services Secretariat works to ensure that victims of crime are treated with respect and receive the information and services they need throughout the various stages of the criminal justice process. More

Who can help if I'm a victim of violent crime who can't afford counseling?

  • If you have an immediate need for services that you cannot afford, the Victim Quick Response Program can help you with emergency expenses.
  • More

Am I eligible for financial assistance?

  • The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board awards compensation to victims of crimes of violence that occurred in Ontario. More

Where can I find information on the criminal justice system?

  • The Victim Support Line is a province-wide, multilingual, toll-free information line providing a range of services to victims of crime. More
  • What Happens in Criminal Court

Who can help me navigate the criminal justice system?

  • The Victim Support Line is a province-wide, multilingual, toll-free information line providing a range of services to victims of crime. More

Where can I find the telephone number for the local Crown attorney?

  • You can call the local courthouse for the local Crown attorney.

Where can I find the provincial law under which the offender in my case was charged?

  • e-Laws is a database of Ontario's statutes and regulations, both consolidated and source law. More

Where can I find the federal law under which the offender in my case was charged?

  • The Justice Laws Web Site is the online source of consolidated Acts and regulations of Canada. More...

The offender in my case is in a provincial institution. Where can I find information about their status or when he or she will be released?

  • The Victim Support Line is a province-wide, multilingual, toll-free information line providing a range of services to victims of crime. More

The offender in my case is in a federal institution. Where can I find information about their status?

  • The National Parole Board, as part of the criminal justice system, makes independent, quality conditional release and pardon decisions and clemency recommendations. More

A family member was murdered and I can't afford a funeral. Who can help?

  • If you have an immediate need for services that you cannot afford, the Victim Quick Response Program can help you with emergency expenses. More

Where can I find information about the criminal appeal process?

Child Victims

Someone hurt me. Who can I talk to?

  • Call the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868. It is Canada's only toll-free, 24-hour, bilingual and anonymous phone counselling, referral and Internet service for children and youth. More

What if I'm being bullied at school?

  • Bullying is a tough issue that does not have easy answers. Whether you are someone who bullies, someone who is being picked on, or if you have witnessed bullying, this site should help you get informed to make the right choices. More for kids More for teens
  • Call the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868. It is Canada's only toll-free, 24-hour, bilingual and anonymous phone counselling, referral and Internet service for children and youth. More
  • Ontario Provincial Police fact sheets:

I'm left at home with a person who hits me while my parents are at work - who can help?

  • If you are a victim of assault, the first thing you should do is tell an adult you trust and/or call 911 for immediate police assistance.
  • Call the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868. It is Canada's only toll-free, 24-hour, bilingual and anonymous phone counselling, referral and Internet service for children and youth. More

I'm a teenager who was sexually assaulted, and the person who did it caught it all on a webcam. Who can help?

  • If you are a victim of assault, the first thing you should do is tell your parents or an adult you trust and/or call 911 for immediate police assistance.
  • The Victim Support Line is a province-wide, multilingual, toll-free information line providing a range of services to victims of crime. More
  • Ontario Provincial Police tip sheet on internet safety.
  • Internet 101 is committed to providing a safe and positive experience for families who use the internet by promoting youth internet safety in partnership with local law enforcement and community groups. More

I am 16. I let someone take sexual pictures of me with a webcam and now he says he'll tell my parents if I don't keep doing it. Who can help?

  • The first thing you should do is call 911 for immediate police assistance and tell your parents or an adult you can trust.
  • Ontario Provincial Police tip sheet on internet safety.
  • The Victim Support Line is a province-wide, multilingual, toll-free information line providing a range of services to victims of crime. More
  • Internet 101 is committed to providing a safe and positive experience for families who use the internet by promoting youth internet safety in partnership with local law enforcement and community groups. More

What can I do to help if I think my neighbours are abusing their child?

How do I report images of child abuse I found on a website?

  • Cybertip.ca is Canada's national tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children. More

How can I help a child who is being exploited through prostitution?

  • The first thing you should do is call 911.
  • Cybertip.ca is Canada's national tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children. More

What should I do if I know someone who is going to a foreign country to have sex with children?

  • Cybertip.ca is Canada's national tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children. More

Domestic violence

Who can help if I've been abused by my partner?

  • If you fear for your safety, you can call the police. If the police are contacted, certain processes and procedures will follow. More
  • You can also go to your family court and bring an urgent motion for an order for exclusive possession of your home (if you are married) and/or an order restraining your spouse from contacting you.
  • If you are feeling threatened by an abusive partner, ex-partner, co-worker and/or are being stalked, consider creating a safety plan. More
  • Leaving the abuse behind is not a decision to be taken lightly. There are, of course, many factors to be considered. More
  • The Assaulted Women's Helpline is a 24-hour telephone and TTY crisis line for women in the province of Ontario. More
  • FEMAIDE is a 24-hour telephone and TTY crisis line for Francophone women in Ontario. More

What happens if I call the police?

  • If police are contacted, they will investigate and determine if there is reason to believe that a criminal offence has occurred.
  • In cases of domestic violence, it is up to police, not the victim, to decide whether or not charges will be laid. More

Who can I call if my partner is violent and I need a shelter that will also take my kids?

  • The Victim Support Line is a province-wide, multilingual, toll-free information line providing a range of services to victims of crime. More
  • The Assaulted Women's Helpline is a 24-hour telephone and TTY crisis line for women in the province of Ontario. More
  • Violence Against Women Shelters - Find a women's shelter for emergency housing and food. Shelters also provide counselling, support and referrals. Ontario 211 has a list of domestic violence women’s shelters.

What if there is no shelter anywhere near my home?

  • The Victim Support Line is a province-wide, multilingual, toll-free information line providing a range of services to victims of crime. More
  • The Assaulted Women's Helpline is a 24-hour telephone and TTY crisis line for women in the province of Ontario. More
  • Violence Against Women Shelters - Find a women's shelter for emergency housing and food. Shelters also provide counselling, support and referrals. Ontario 211 has a list of domestic violence women’s shelters.

My partner assaulted me. I need to change the locks on the doors, but can't afford it. Who can help?

  • If you have an immediate need for services that you cannot afford, the Victim Quick Response Program can help you with emergency expenses. More
  • The Victim Support Line is a province-wide, multilingual, toll-free information line providing a range of services to victims of crime. More

My partner has been charged with domestic violence - what happens now?

  • If charges are laid, your case will be handled by a Domestic Violence Court.
  • These courts have teams of specialists who work to help you and your family get the support you need. They also help to make sure offenders are held responsible for their actions.
  • There is a Domestic Violence Court program in each of the province's 54 court jurisdictions. More

I reported domestic violence to the police. Can I have the charges dropped?

  • In Canada, police lay charges and Crown attorneys prosecute them.
  • Crown attorneys will proceed with a case if they believe the charges can be proven. They also consider whether it is in the public interest to do so.
  • While domestic violence is a common charge, it has dangerous consequences. Because of this, Crown attorneys will usually decide that is in the public interest to proceed with the case even if you want the charges dropped.

What supports are available to me during the police investigation/court process?

  • With your permission, the police may call on the Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Services Program to provide immediate assistance and support to help you deal with the impact of a crime.
  • The Victim/Witness Assistance Program offers support and responds quickly to any safety concerns you may have in the aftermath of violent crime. Services begin once police have laid charges and continue until the court case is over.
  • If you are a victim of violent crime and the police have laid criminal charges, you can be referred to the program by police or Crown attorneys. More

Are there programs to help child victims going through the court process?

  • Yes. Child Victim/Witness programs currently operate in London, Toronto, Waterloo Region, Peel and Ottawa. These programs are being expanded to every region of the province.
  • After charges are laid, they provide free services that support and help children through each stage of the court process. This includes accompanying children into the courtroom.
  • They work closely with the Victim/Witness Assistance Program staff to provide the best possible assistance to children in the court process.

What is the Domestic Violence Court Program?

  • Domestic Violence Courts have teams of specialists who work to help you and your family get the support you need. They also help to make sure offenders are held responsible for their actions.
  • There is a Domestic Violence Court program in each of the province's 54 court jurisdictions. More

What is the Partner Assault Response program?

  • Partner Assault Response (PAR) programs specialize in counselling and educational services, and are offered by community-based agencies to people who have assaulted their partners. They are a component of Ontario's Domestic Violence Court program. More

Does the Partner Assault Response Program help victims?

  • While an offender is in the PAR program, staff offer their partner help with safety planning, referrals to community resources, and information about the offender's progress. More

Where can I find out about safe computer use for domestic violence victims?

Who can help me if I'm a victim of domestic violence and have to go to court?

  • The Victim Support Line is a province-wide, multilingual, toll-free information line providing a range of services to victims of crime. More
  • More information about going to court
  • The Victim/Witness Assistance Program will assist all domestic violence victims through the court process.

What can I do to help an abused woman?

  • The following sites will help you understand the many issues women in abusive situations face. More
  • "Do you know a woman who is being abused?" is a guide to the legal system for women in abusive relationships. More
  • Neighbours, Friends and Families campaigns help people recognize the signs of violence against women and know what action to take.
  • Where can I get information on spousal abuse?

    • Spousal abuse is a tragedy that affects everyone in our society. More

    Useful Toolkits for Survivors of Domestic Abuse

    Sexual Assault

    I've been sexually assaulted - where can I go for immediate help?

    • Call 911 for police assistance.
    • Communities across Ontario offer services to women of all ages who have experienced, live with, or are in fear of violence. All of these services offer free, confidential support. More
    • For help finding a sexual assault centre nearest to you, contact the Victim Support Line toll-free at 1-888-579-2888 or 416-314-2447 in the Toronto area. The service is available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

    What if I'm a male victim of sexual assault?

    • Call 911 for police assistance.
    • Male survivors of sexual abuse can get help from a number of government services. More

    I was sexually assaulted and can't afford transportation expenses to get treatment. Who can help?

    • If you have an immediate need for services that you cannot afford, the Victim Quick Response Program can help you with funding for counseling services. More
    • The Victim Support Line is a province-wide, multilingual, toll-free information line providing a range of services to victims of crime. More

    I was sexually assaulted. Is there anywhere I can go for financial help?

    • The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board awards compensation to victims of crimes of violence that occurred in Ontario. More

    I am a victim of sexual assault. Are there any programs in my area that could help me?

    • The Victim Support Line is a province-wide, multilingual, toll-free information line providing a range of services to victims of crime. More

    I was raped and I think I have a sexually transmitted disease, but I don't want to go to the hospital. Who can help?

    • Telehealth Ontario offers free access to a registered nurse, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. More

    I was sexually assaulted but don't want to go to the police. Who can help?

    • Communities across Ontario offer services to women of all ages who have experienced, live with, or are in fear of violence. All of these services offer free, confidential support. More

    English or French is not my first language. How do I get a court interpreter?

    Whether you are an accused, a surety or counsel, there are many ways to request interpretation services in Ontario's courts.

    Section 14 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right to the assistance of an interpreter for people who don't understand or speak English or French. The Ministry of the Attorney General's Court Services Division provides court interpretation services in:

    • Any language required in criminal and child protection matters
    • Any language in civil, family and Small Claims Court matters, if the litigant has been given a fee waiver certificate
    • French in all civil, family and Small Claims Court matters
    • Sign language in all Small Claims Court matters, and
    • Any language when it is ordered by the court.

    To make sure that interpretation services are available when you need them, you should ask for an interpreter as soon as you know you will need one. Requesting an interpreter ahead of time allows court staff time to make arrangements for the date and time required.

    When requesting an interpreter, you should provide the following information

      • Language of interpretation
      • Who is requesting interpretation services? An accused? A surety? Counsel? (full name needed, ICON number if relevant)
      • Type of appearance [e.g. bail, trial]
      • Date and time interpretation is needed
      • Court location
      • Any other relevant information.
    • If you are an accused in a criminal matter:
      • Often, Duty counsel or your lawyer will ask for an interpreter during a first appearance when it is clear that interpretation services will be needed. This will be done on the court record and the court clerk will file the request and forward it to the court office.
      • If Duty counsel or your lawyer does not ask for an interpreter and you know you will need one, alert the judge or justice of the peace, Duty counsel or your lawyer. This should be done on the record.
    • If you are a surety in a criminal matter who:
      • Requires an interpreter when appearing in court, you should ask your lawyer to request interpretation services from the court.
      • If going to the courthouse to end your obligation, you should call the court office to ensure that an interpreter will be available for you.
    • If you are counsel in a criminal matter:
      • When possible, give court staff as much notice as possible for interpreter requests.
      • Ensure the court clerk has recorded the request to forward to the court office, if you are requesting interpretation services in court.
      • Phone the court office and speak to the Interpreter Coordinator or designated staff to file a request, if you are requesting services prior to a court appearance. Be prepared to give all relevant information to the assignment. You may also be required to fill out a written request.
    • If you are a witness:
      • Tell the lawyer who contacted you or the police officer who you spoke to that you will require an interpreter and for what language.

    Help for Parents & Caregivers

    My child is missing and the police are investigating. Who else can help me?

    • Child Find Ontario is dedicated to helping missing and exploited children and youth in Ontario. More

    Who can help if I think my partner is going to abduct my child?

    • The first thing you should do is call 911 for immediate police assistance.
    • Child Find Ontario is dedicated to helping missing and exploited children and youth in Ontario. More

    Who can help if my child was assaulted?

    • If your child was assaulted you should call 911 for immediate police assistance..
    • The Victim Support Line is a province-wide, multilingual, toll-free information line providing a range of services to victims of crime. More

    Who can help if my child is involved in inappropriate online chats?

    • Cybertip.ca is Canada's national tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children. More
    • Ontario Provincial Police Internet Safety Tips for Parents.
    • Internet 101 is committed to providing a safe and positive experience for families who use the internet by promoting youth internet safety in partnership with local law enforcement and community groups. More

    I was assaulted and the person who did it was charged. I need child-care services while I recover, but I can't afford them. Who can help?

    • The Victim Support Line is a province-wide, multilingual, toll-free information line providing a range of services to victims of crime. More

    My daughter was assaulted and I think she needs counseling, but I can't afford it. Who can help?

    • If you have an immediate need for services that you cannot afford, the Victim Quick Response Program can help you with emergency expenses. More
    • The Victim Support Line is a province-wide, multilingual, toll-free information line providing a range of services to victims of crime. More

    My child is a victim of violent crime and has to go to court. Who can help if I don't know anything about the court process?

    • Child Victim/Witness programs currently operate in London, Toronto, Waterloo Region, Peel and Ottawa. These programs are currently being expanded to every region of the province.
    • The Victim/Witness Assistance Program provides information, help and support to victims and witnesses of crime. More

    Elder Abuse

    Where can I find out about elder abuse?

    • Elder abuse takes many different forms; it's as varied and unique as its victims. More

    How can I help a senior who is being abused by their children?

    • The Victim Support Line is a province-wide, multilingual, toll-free information line providing a range of services to victims of crime. More
    • The Ontario Association of Crime Stoppers has partnered with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to develop a Seniors Crime Stoppers program. More (PDF)

    Ontario Provincial Police Tip Sheets

    Information for Witnesses

    Arrive at the courthouse 30 minutes early. If you have been called as a witness by the Defence/accused person, let the Defence Counsel/accused person know that you have arrived. If you have been called to testify for the Crown (prosecution) let the Crown Attorney or police officer in charge of your case know that you have arrived.

    Once court is officially in session, witnesses may be told to leave the courtroom. This is called an order excluding witnesses. If you are asked to leave the courtroom you should stay just outside the courtroom so that you are easy to find when it is your turn to testify.

    When you are called to testify, you will be asked to swear an oath that you promise to tell the truth. You can "swear" to tell the truth by placing your hand on a Bible, Koran, or other religious text of your choice. OR, you can "affirm" to tell the truth without using a religious text. If you prefer to use a religious text other than the Bible, you should tell the courtroom clerk when you are called to testify. Once you are on the witness stand, the courtroom clerk will ask if you prefer to swear or affirm and will ask you to repeat the oath after him or her.

    Which court will my case be heard in?

    All criminal cases start out in the Ontario Court of Justice. More serious cases may eventually have the trial heard in the Superior Court of Justice.

    Looking for Court addresses?

    The court address for your case will be on the papers given to you regarding the case.
    • Search the Ministry of the Attorney General's database of court addresses.

    More information for witnesses in domestic violence cases

    Subpoenas and Summons'

    What is a subpoena?

    • A subpoena is a document that requires a person to go to court as a witness in order to give testimony. If you have been given a subpoena, it will tell you when and where you must be in court. The subpoena will also tell you if you are being called as a witness for the Crown (the prosecution) or the Defence/Accused person.

    What is a summons?

    • A summons is a document issued by a court, agency, board or commission, or another person, requiring a person to attend and to produce documents or other things.

    Appeals

    What is an appeal?

    • An appeal is a request made to a higher court, tribunal or authority for the review of a decision.
    • Where can I find more information about the criminal appeal process?

    Information for Sureties

    What is a surety?

    • A surety is a person who gives or promises security for another person.
    • A surety is responsible for monitoring the accused person after his/her release on bail to ensure that s/he attends court as required, complies with the conditions of release and does not commit any further criminal offences. A surety is often required to give or promise security to the court at the bail hearing.

    What are my responsibilities as a surety?

    • Being a surety is a serious commitment. Before you accept this responsibility, there are a few things you should think about. More…

    Information for a young person charged with a criminal offence

    What is the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA)?

    • The YCJA is federal legislation that deals with young people (under 18) who break the law. More

    How is youth crime dealt with?

    • When a young person breaks the law, police use the Youth Criminal Justice Act to decide what action they will take.
    • A young person may be dealt with outside of the formal court process, or may be sent to court. More…

    Where can I access legal help for low-income children and youth?

    • Justice for Children and Youth provides select legal representation to low-income children and youth in Toronto and the vicinity. More

    What do I do if my child has been arrested?

    • If your child has been arrested, the first thing you should do is call a lawyer.
    • In Ontario, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services provides programs and services for young people who have been dealt with under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, or are at risk of breaking the law. More

    How do I find a lawyer or a paralegal?

    Jury Duty

    What if I'm called for jury duty?

    • Many people have questions about jury duty. Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions can be found here.

    Information about Ontario Courts

    Ontario Court of Justice

    • The Ontario Court of Justice has jurisdiction over family and criminal cases, and matters under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
    • The court deals with over 95 per cent of all criminal and youth criminal justice matters in Ontario.
    • Learn more about the Ontario Court of Justice.

    Superior Court of Justice

    • The Superior Court of Justice has jurisdiction over civil and serious criminal cases.
    • A judge, or a judge and jury hear trials in the Superior Court of Justice.
    • Learn more about the Superior Court of Justice.

    Court of Appeal for Ontario

    Supreme Court of Canada

    • The Supreme Court of Canada is Canada's final court of appeal, the last judicial resort for all litigants, whether individuals or governments.
    • Its jurisdiction includes Quebec's civil law and the common law of the other provinces and territories.

    Learn more about the Supreme Court of Canada.

    Information about the Law in Ontario

    Want to learn more about Ontario's laws and regulations?

    • e-Laws is a database of Ontario's statutes and regulations, both consolidated and source law. More…

    Want to learn more about Canadian laws and regulations?

    • The Government of Canada's Justice Laws website is your online source for consolidated Acts and regulations of Canada. More…

    Want to Learn More about the Criminal Code of Canada

    • The Criminal Code is federal legislation that is the source of criminal law and procedure in Canada. More…

    Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)

    • CanLII is a non-profit organization managed by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. CanLII's goal is to make Canadian law accessible for free on the Internet. More…

    Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN)

    • OJEN is dedicated to promoting understanding, education and openness in the justice system. More…

    Visit our legal glossary for a basic guide to common legal terms.

    General

    Looking for information about your upcoming court appearance? Access daily court lists here. (Please note: Online court lists for weekend bail courts are not available at this time.)

    Do you have comments about this site?

    Disclaimer

    Links are provided as a service and are not legal advice. For legal advice, please read more about finding a lawyer. Links marked with a globe point to external Web sites that are not maintained by the Government of Ontario. Related comments or inquiries regarding those sites should be directed to the individual organization. If you discover a broken link, please let us know.