Glossary

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This legal glossary is a basic guide to common legal terms. A lawyer is in the best position to advise you about your legal rights and responsibilities.

Different terms may have different meanings based on the specific area of law or the context in which they are being used. For legal terms not referred to in this glossary, or for more comprehensive definitions, you may wish to refer to a legal dictionary or to an internet resource.

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Oath
A solemn declaration, followed by a swearing to God or an honoured deity, whereby the person promises to tell the truth.
Offence
A violation of the law.
Hybrid Offence
Term applied to a criminal offence which may be tried by summary conviction procedure or by indictment at the option of the prosecutor. A hybrid offence is an indictable offence until the Crown elects to proceed by way of summary conviction. The difference is in the process followed.
Indictable Offence
More serious criminal offences that carry longer maximum sentences and higher fines; these offences are also subject to more complex court procedures, including the right to a preliminary hearing before a trial in the Superior Court of Justice.
Quasi-Criminal Offence
A non-criminal offence that carries a penalty similar to that of a criminal offence, but that is subject to less complex court procedures than are criminal offences. For example traffic and workplace safety offences.
Regulatory Offence
A non-criminal offence that regulates conduct in the public interest, such as securities regulations. Regulatory offences are often dealt with at administrative tribunals and not in a court setting.
Summary Conviction Offence
These criminal offences carry lower maximum penalties and are subject to less complex court procedures. These matters are heard in the Ontario Court of Justice.
Offer to Settle
A written document that is sent by one party to the other setting out the terms for which that party is willing to settle all or part of the case.
Omission
The failure to do something which it is one's duty to do, or which a reasonable person would do.
Ontario Court of Justice
(see Court)
Order
A court's direction requiring a party to do something or refrain from doing something.
Assessment Order
  1. In criminal proceedings, a court's order to have an accused person's mental condition assessed where the court believes it necessary (a "fitness hearing").
  2. In civil law, an order that a person attend for a physical or mental examination where the physical or mental condition of a party to the proceedings is in question.
  3. In family law cases, a court's order to have a qualified professional investigate and report on the needs of the child(ren) and the ability of the parties to meet those needs.
Community Treatment Order
An order to provide a person who suffers from a serious mental disorder with a comprehensive plan of community-based treatment or care and supervision that is less restrictive than being detained in a psychiatric facility.
Consent Order
An order made by the court based upon the agreement of the parties.
Divorce Order
Final order made by a court in a divorce case. On taking effect, a divorce order legally ends a marriage.
Final Order
An order that decides a case or claim on a final basis.
Interim or Interlocutory Order
An order that is valid for a specified period of time or until there is a final order. It does not finally dispose of the case or claim before the court or tribunal.
Openness Order
In child protection cases, an order made by the court allowing a Crown ward to continue to have contact, communicate or have a relationship with a person after adoption.
Probation Order
(see Sentence)
Production Order
In criminal law, an order to have evidence produced by someone other than the accused. In civil law, an order that a party, or a third party with relevant documents, produce those documents for the purposes of the litigation.
Prohibition Order
(1) An order to prevent a person from doing something. (2) A prerogative writ.
Refraining order
In family law cases, a court order preventing the Family Responsibility Of fice from suspending a payor's driver's licence. 
Restraining Order
  1. In family law cases, an order restraining harassment that prohibits a person from molesting, annoying, harassing or communicating with their spouse, their children, or a person having custody.
  2. In family law cases, an order stopping one spouse from selling or depleting his or her property.
Restitution Order
(see Sentence)
Society Wardship Order
In child protection cases, an order placing a child in the care and custody of a children's aid society for a period of up to 12 months.
Supervision Order
In child protection cases, an order that the child is either placed with or returned to a parent or another person for between three and twelve months, and the children's aid society supervises the family.
Support Order
In family law cases, an order that a person provide support for his or her dependants, which sets out the amount to be paid and the time during which the support must be paid.
Support Deduction Order
In family law cases, an order that allows the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) to collect support payments.
Temporary Order
In family law cases, an order that is effective only for a limited time, including an interim order.
Treatment Order
In criminal law, an order to have the accused treated for mental health problems.