Not Criminally Responsible On Account of Mental Disorder Contrary to popular culture, a finding of not criminally responsible (by reason of mental disorder) is not a free pass out of the criminal justice system.  The concept of not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder (NCR), or what was at one time referred to as…

You’ve been arrested, Now what? If you are being investigated, you may soon find yourself being confronted, interrogated, or in handcuffs. You are going to be arrested by the police in one of two ways.  Either you go to them or they come to you. The former is a surrender, the latter is a takedown….

Basic Trial Procedure A criminal trial begins with the formal arraignment (reading of the charges) to the accused(s). A plea of “not guilty” is required in most cases. Once the arraignment has begun, the Crown Attorney (prosecutor) commences producing evidence to demonstrate that the accused was the perpetrator of the offences for which they have…

What is your election, Jury or Judge Alone? In Canada, all criminal charges are classified into three categories:  a) summary conviction offences, b) indictable offences, or c) hybrid offences.   Pure summary conviction offences are those that are considered less serious, whereas pure indictable offences are those considered the most serious under Canadian criminal law.  Hybrid offences are…

Why Does Procedure Matter? Back in the fall of 1987, when I was in my first year of law school, I came across legal reports dealing with Practice and Procedure in Civil Courts. I remember looking through the cases and thought to myself, this is the most boring subject I’ve ever seen. Why would anyone…

New Window of Opportunity for Challenging Immigration Decisions March 23, 2020 By Hans John Kalina On December 19, 2019 the Supreme Court of Canada released the decision in Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Vavilov, 2019 SCC 65. The “Vavilov” decision changes the way Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) will be required to…

Respecting and Maintaining Professionalism as a Lawyer True, we build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures. There is little of all that we do which the eye can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men and women’s…

Legal Fees Explained By Hans John Kalina Let’s talk about legal fees. The topic of legal fees is very often misunderstood by our clients.  First and foremost, clients need to acknowledge that the lawyer is a business person.  Legal services are the product and the lawyer’s livelihood is entirely dependent on the client’s payment for…

Anatomy of a Criminal Proceeding by Hans John Kalina What exactly does a lawyer do to assist their client in a criminal proceeding?  It’s a question that is often asked and poorly understood.  American television programs promote the myth of a lawyer walking into a prosecutor’s office, throwing down a file and yelling to advance…

The Role of Defence Counsel in a Criminal Proceeding  By Hans John Kalina What is the role of defence counsel in a criminal proceeding?  While this may seem like a question with an obvious answer, closer examination, reveals that it is not. There are two opposing views on the subject.  One view is that defence…

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