Compelling the Accused to Attend Court

From Criminal Law Notebook


See also: Warrantless Arrests and Warrant Arrests

A person can be compelled to attend court to face criminal charges in several ways. It starts with the police. They investigate a crime and at some point they suspect an individual is responsible.

The police start by doing one of three things:

  1. serve an appearance notice on the accused;
  2. arrest the accused; or
  3. lay a charge and issue a warrant or summons

These are not mutually exclusive actions but rather first steps.

Where the person is given an appearance notice, they are simply served with a document directing them to attend court.

Where the person is arrested first, the police will decide whether to lay a charge. If a charge will be layed the police can do one of the following:

  1. hold him for court
  2. release him using a summons, Appearance Notice, Promise to Appear (with or without an undertaking), or Recognizance (with or without an undertaking)

If they are held for court, the issue of release will be left to the judge to determine.

Where the charge is layed first, the warrant or summons gives authority to the police to locate the individual for the purpose of arresting them to serving them with notice to attend court.


Flow Chart

See Also