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Criminal Court: Serving the Public

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General Information about Ontario Criminal Courts

General information about criminal law, what happens in criminal courts and Questions and Answers about going to court can be found on the Ministry of the Attorney General’s website.

The Guide for Accused Persons in Criminal Trials will provide persons with general information about criminal trials.

Legislation, Court Rules and Practices, Policies

Specialized Courts

The Ontario Court of Justice is primarily com­prised of courts functioning in the traditional manner, focused on arriving at findings based on the application of the law to the evidence and mak­ing decisions in a fair and expeditious manner. However, some courts within the Ontario Court of Justice have been developed with different ori­entations or accommodations to suit the needs of particular kinds of cases, accused, or witnesses. These courts are intended to offer a broad range of programs or supports to assist accused or witnesses in the criminal process, for example,  with respect to mental health, drug treatment, Aboriginal persons (Gladue) and domestic violence.

The Integrated Domestic Violence Court (IDVC) is one example of a specialized court. The IDVC provides one judge per family when that family is facing a domestic violence charge and are going through a separation. Information about the IDVC is available online.

For more information about specialized courts, please see the Ontario Court of Justice’s Biennial Report.

Information for Victims of Crime

The Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division of the Ministry of the Attorney General works to ensure that victims of crime are treated with respect and receive the information and services they need.

Information about programs and services for victims of crime in Ontario can be found on the Ministry of the Attorney General’s website.

Language Rights

  • French language rights: An accused person whose language is French is entitled to a French trial. For more information on French language rights, please consult the Ministry of the Attorney General’s French Language Services website and the publication, Justice in Both Languages.
  • Other languages: Any accused person and witness in a criminal proceeding who does not understand or speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted or who is deaf has the right to the assistance of an interpreter. For more information about requesting an interpreter, please see the Ministry of the Attorney General’s website.

Information for Sureties

A surety is someone who agrees to be responsible for someone charged with an offence. As a convenience, here is the link to more information about the commitment to act as a surety.