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First Appearance

Anyone facing criminal charges should research the rules dictating how trials are conducted

Your First Appearance in Criminal Court: The Plea Process

If you have been charged with a crime in Canada, you should consult with a criminal defence lawyer in your area

First Appearance in Court - Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Legal Terms


An accused person has the right to the disclosure of all relevant information  in the possession of the Crown, with the exception of privileged information. This typically occurs before the accused has to decide whether to enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty.

Duty counsel

They are lawyers who assist self-represented litigants by offering limited legal advice. They can give advice about the accused's legal rights, obligations and the court process. They can also help with asking for an adjournment, conducting a bail hearing, entering a guilty plea or making submissions at a sentencing hearing.

Elements of the offence

To win a conviction, the Crown must prove two elements: that there was prohibited conduct (actus rea) and that the accused was aware they were acting illegally (mens rea).

First appearance

A procedural step to determine how the accused wants to proceed with the case. The purpose of a first appearance is for the court to get information and for the accused to think about what they want to do, such as plead guilty or not guilty.

First Appearance in Court - Referenced Links