Criminal Duty Counsel

The following information is taken from the Legal Aid Ontario web site at:

If you have been charged with a criminal offence, and you have a court date but you don’t have a lawyer, criminal duty counsel may be able to assist you. In criminal cases, duty counsel advise people about the charge(s) against them and provide information about basic court procedure. You must be financially eligible for some types of duty counsel assistance.

Criminal duty counsel are lawyers who can:

  • give advice about legal rights, obligations and the court process
  • provide assistance in the courtroom for bail hearings and sentencing
  • assist with diversion, guilty pleas and adjournments

Criminal duty counsel may also provide assistance in specialized courts such as mental health, drug treatment, domestic violence and Aboriginal persons (Gladue) court. Duty counsel can also assist youth (a person who is under 18) who have been charged with a criminal offence.

Criminal duty counsel can also refer you to Legal Aid Ontario’s certificate program or another criminal law service.