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criminal law

Hot off the press – Speaking to the Judge Before You’re Sentenced

Speaking To The JudgeBack in stock! Speaking to the Judge Before You’re Sentenced has been revised and reprinted. There have been some changes to the law regarding fines; previous versions of the brochure should be recycled.

This brochure outlines the possible sentences for someone pleading guilty or found guilty. It explains in plain language what you can say to the judge before the judge decides on a sentence. It also contains information for Aboriginal people on their Gladue rights and how to talk to the judge about their Aboriginal background.

Hot off the Press – Defending Yourself booklets

Comment vous défendreBack in stock! We’ve reprinted four booklets in the new Defending Yourself series: Breach of a Court Order, Mischief, Possession of an Illegal Drug, and Possession of Property Under $5,000 Obtained by Crime.

These redesigned publications replace booklets from the What to Do If You Are Charged series. 

Hot Off the Press: Six New French Translations

LSS is committed to providing PLE publications in French for both our francophone community here in BC and, of course, for all French-speaking newcomers to BC.

We have six new French translations available: our new child protection publication, How to Get A Court-Appointed Lawyer for Your Child Protection Case, and five of our criminal law booklets. These include four titles in the new Defending Yourself series, meaning that all six booklets in this series are now available in French. The French version of Representing Yourself in a Criminal Trial was also re-translated to match the recent English revision.

All the new translations are available online (only) on our website.

Thank you to the Francophone Affairs Program in BC for funding these translations, made possible through the Canada–British Columbia Official Languages Agreement on French-Language Services.

See our website for a full list of all our French PLE publications.

Comment obtenir un avocat commis d’office pour votre dossier relatif à la protection de la jeunesse How to Get A Court-Appointed Lawyer for Your Child Protection CaseComment obtenir un avocat commis d’office pour votre dossier relatif à la protection de la jeunesse
How to Get A Court-Appointed Lawyer for Your Child Protection Case

Comment vous défendreComment vous défendre pour possession de biens criminellement obtenus d’une valeur de moins de 5 000 $

Defending Yourself: Possession of Property Under $5,000 Obtained by Crime

Comment vous défendre pour possession d’une drogue illicite
Defending Yourself: Possession of an Illegal Drug

Vous représenter vous-même lors d’un procès criminal

Comment vous défendre pour un méfait
Defending Yourself: Mischief

Comment vous défendre pour violation d’ordonnance du tribunal
Defending Yourself: Breach of a Court Order

Vous représenter vous-même lors d’un procès criminal
Representing Yourself in a Criminal Trial




Hot off the Press: If You Are Charged with a Crime and Representing Yourself in a Criminal Trial

Lawyer with client

Representing-Yourself-in-a-Criminal-TrialifYouAreChargedWithACrimeWe’ve updated two of our criminal law publications to reflect recent changes in Provincial Court process. Our brochure, If You Are Charged with a Crime, outlines the first steps and available options when someone is charged with an offence. The booklet, Representing Yourself in a Criminal Trial, takes the reader through preparation for trial, pre-trial court appearances, and the trial itself.

Provincial Court Scheduling Project: Speeding up the criminal court process

Scales of justice

This December the BC Provincial Court made changes to the criminal court process to improve its efficiency. For someone facing a trial, there are two changes that will impact their experience with the court process.

The first of these changes is the elimination of mandatory trial confirmation hearings. These hearings were held after the accused entered a not guilty plea to make sure that everyone was ready to go to trial. These hearings are now optional and will only be scheduled if necessary. As part of this change, lawyers will no longer need to prepare trial readiness reports and arraignment reports. Any trial confirmation hearings that are already booked will go ahead, although lawyers can request a cancellation.

The second change involves the two other court hearings for accused persons: the first appearance and the arraignment hearing. These hearings may now be in front of a judicial case manager rather than a justice of the peace or judge. To allow for this, the authority of judicial case managers has been expanded.

These two changes are meant to move simple matters from first appearance to arraignment within 60 days, and are meant to move more complex matters within 90 days.

More changes are in the works for 2014, which will help cut down on wasted court time.

Hot off the press: Relationship abuse fact sheets now available in print in Farsi (Persian)

Live Safe - End Abuse

liveSafeEndAbuseSeven fact sheets in the Live Safe — End Abuse series are now available in print in Farsi (Persian). The fact sheets cover 11 topics to inform readers about relationship abuse (family violence). We identified seven topics that would be most helpful to someone dealing with family violence. These seven fact sheets are also available in Chinese (simplified and traditional), Punjabi, and Spanish.

  • Getting Help from the Police or RCMP explains the right to call police in abusive situations, how police can help, and what happens when police arrest an abuser.
  • If Your Sponsor Abuses You describes what newcomers (immigrants) to Canada can do if abused by their sponsors or when leaving an abusive relationship.
  • Parenting explains what the terms guardian, parenting time, parental responsibilities, and contact with a child mean under the BC Family Law Act, and describes parenting orders and limits on parenting.
  • Protection Orders explains peace bonds, no contact orders, and family law protection orders, and how to apply for them.
  • Safety Planning gives details about how to make a safety plan for use at home, outside the home, and after leaving an abusive relationship.
  • The Criminal Court Process describes what happens when an abuser faces criminal charges, what it means to be a court witness, what happens at trial, and possible sentences.
  • What Is Abuse? explains that abuse can be physical, emotional, verbal, psychological, financial, or sexual, and that certain types of abuse are crimes.

All the fact sheets list community support services and legal resources. See Abuse & family violence for all the fact sheets in this series.

All fact sheets in this series are folded for display in brochure racks.

Hot off the press: Are you Aboriginal?

Are You Aboriginal?

Are-You-Aboriginal-Gladue-First-Nations-Court-350-lssWe’ve updated our Are you Aboriginal? fact sheet. This fact sheet is for Aboriginal people who have been charged with a crime. It includes information on Gladue rights — special rights under the Criminal Code that encourage judges to take a restorative justice approach. This means that, when setting bail or sentencing, the judge must keep in mind the special circumstances that Aboriginal offenders face, and consider all options other than jail. Gladue rights apply to all Aboriginal people: status and non-status Indians, Inuit, Métis, and anyone who self-identifies as Aboriginal.

The fact sheet also includes information on the First Nations Courts in  Duncan, Kamloops, and New Westminster. It includes contact information for the First Nations Court duty counsel, and information on how to apply to have your matter transferred to First Nations Court.

Hot off the press: Defending Yourself reprints

Defending Yourself series


We’ve reprinted two of the booklets in the new Defending Yourself series: Assault and Theft Under $5,000.

These redesigned publications replace booklets from the What to Do If You Are Charged series.

Defending Yourself in court

Defending-Yourself-Breach-of-a-Court-Order-443-lssDefending Yourself, our newly redesigned and updated criminal law series, is now available online and in print. Each of these booklets walks the reader through a specific offence: the penalties they could face, the possible defences, and what the prosecutor will say and do. The charges covered in this series are:

As part of our accessibility initiative, we’ve been working to make all our new publications easier to understand and to use. This includes a new format and more visuals for this series, and a flowchart that shows which LSS publications can help at every stage in the criminal court process. The Defending Yourself booklets are meant to be used with Representing Yourself in a Criminal Trialand can be conveniently tucked inside that booklet’s new cover pocket.

These booklets replace the What to Do If You Are Charged series. The French translations of that series are still legally accurate and What to Do If You Are Charged With a Drinking and Driving Offence is also still available in English.

All of our criminal publications can be found on our website and are available, for free, in print and online.

The 2nd Annual Courage in Law Award

Pam & JCB AwardOn March 20 of this year, the Indigenous Law Students’ Association at UBC Law gave out their annual Courage in Law Award. The award is given to recognize people who have shown leadership and courage in advancing legal services for indigenous people and fostering diversity in the legal profession.

Among the recipients was our very own Pamela Shields who manages Aboriginal services for LSS. Among her other work at LSS, Pamela has been instrumental in promoting and implementing Gladue rights throughout the province. Gladue rights are the Criminal Code rights to special consideration that a judge must give an Aboriginal person when setting bail or during sentencing.

The award was also given to retired Judge Cunliff Barnett and Gail Davidson. Judge Barnett is known for taking his court to Indigenous communities where he created space for indigenous legal traditions in his judicial decisions. He is currently involved with the First Nations Court in Kamloops. Gail Davidson serves as the executive director of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada and has worked to advocate for the protection of indigenous women’s rights in Canada.

Not content with just receiving an award that day, both Pamela Shields and Judge Barnett went on to give presentations to UBC law students, speaking about Gladue rights and how to make space for indigenous legal traditions in the criminal court system.

To learn more about Gladue, see Aboriginal legal rights — Gladue on the LSS website, as well as Are You Aboriginal? (fact sheet) and our Gladue Primer.