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Canadian Criminal Justice System

Do I really need a lawyer?

While I would always advise any individual charged with any criminal offence to retain or at the very least consult legal counsel as soon as possible, it is not mandatory to have a lawyer to represent you. If you tell the Court that you wish to represent yourself, the Court may allow you to do that.

Representing yourself may be a very time-consuming and risky experience. Although every person charged with a criminal offence is presumed innocent until proven guilty, the Crown has unlimited resources at its disposal to try to meet its burden of proof. It is always advisable for the accused person to have a trained professional by his or her side to ensure that the accused’s rights and interests are adequately protected at every stage of the trial process.

In some situations the Court may put considerable pressure on the accused person to retain a lawyer. In general, the Courts do not like dealing with a self-represented accused. It is important to appreciate that in the Canadian criminal justice system, the Court plays the role of an independent arbiter who adjudicates between the two opposing sides of the dispute. There is a limit on how far the presiding Judge may be willing to go to assist the accused person in defending the charges.

Vladimir Fedorchuk

Barrister & Solicitor
120 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 500
Toronto, Ontario
M4P 1E2

Cel: 647-203-9636
Fax: 647-776-3168

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