Role of the Trial Judge

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General Principles

An accused person is entitled to a Constitutional right to an impartial trier-of-fact.[1]

A trial judge has a duty to ensure that the trial is fair and there are no miscarriage of justice.[2]

The trial judge is more than just an umpire but "is not to enter the arena and appear to take on the role of an advocate".[3]

Our criminal justice system is on that is "essentially adversarial" where the Crown presents evidence of guilt and the accused points out weaknesses in the evidence and presents contrary evidence. The trier of fact is a neutral arbiter of the dispute.[4] For this reason, it is improper for the judge to usurp the role of counsel in an inquisitorial manner.[5]

Trial judges are presumed to know the elementary principles of law.[6]

The court's inherent jurisdiction is limited by its role within the system of separate branches of government.[7]

Duty to Raise Issues

A trial judge has a duty to "conduct [a] trial judicially quite apart from the lapses of counsel".[8] This may include a duty to conduct a voir dire on issues such as voluntariness absent the request of counsel.[9]

Duty of Restraint

A judge has a duty of restraint during their court work as well as in their personal life.[10] It is a guarantee of judicial independence or impartiality.[11]

Judges are required to be "shielded from tumult and controversy that may taint the perception of impartiality".[12]

  1. See s. 11(d) of the Charter which is the right " be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;"
    See also R v Valente, 1985 CanLII 25 (SCC), [1985] 2 SCR 673, (1985), 23 CCC (3d) 193 (SCC), per Le Dain J
    Judicial Immunity
  2. see R v Harris, 2009 SKCA 96 (CanLII), 331 Sask. R. 283, per Richards JA, at para 28
    R v Amell, 2013 SKCA 48 (CanLII), per Lane JA, at para 25
  3. R v Stucky, 2009 ONCA 151 (CanLII), 240 CCC (3d) 141, per Weiler and Gillese JJA, at paras 69-72{{{3}}}
    R v Griffith, 2013 ONCA 510 (CanLII), per Rosenberg JA, at para 25
  4. R v Osolin, 1993 CanLII 54 (SCC), [1993] 4 SCR 595, per McLachlin J (in dissent), at para ?
  5. R v Corbett, 2009 ABQB 619 (CanLII), per Ross J, at para 46
  6. R v Burns, 1994 CanLII 127 (SCC), [1994] 1 SCR 656, 89 CCC (3d) 193, per McLachlin J
  7. Ontario v Criminal Lawyers’ Association of Ontario, [2013] 3 SCR 3, 2013 SCC 43 (CanLII), per Karakatsanis J, at 30 paras 28, 30{{{3}}}, 38
  8. R v Piamonte, 2017 ONSC 2666 (CanLII), per Johnston J, at para 9
    R v Sweezey (1974), 20 CCC (2d) 400 (OCA), 1974 CanLII 1427 (ON CA), per Martin JA
  9. Piamonte, ibid., at para 9
    See also Voluntariness
  10. Ruffo v Conseil de la magistrature, 1995 CanLII 49 (SCC), [1995] 4 SCR 267, per Gonthier J
  11. Ruffo, ibid.
  12. Ruffo, ibid.

Right of Parties to be Heard

There is a fundamental tenant that all parties affected by a decision shall be given an opportunity to be heard by the court before the court makes a ruling. This is the principle of audi alteram partem .[1] The right to be heard also provides a person "the right to know the case to be met".[2]

The judge has an obligation to allow each party who may be affected by a ruling to be permitted to respond to the case against them.[3]

A failure to afford each side to present argument before a judgment is a denial of that right will violate procedural fairness and is fatal.[4]

The right is not unqualified. A declaration of a party as a "vexatious litigant" has the effect of removing this right. Accordingly, it is only used sparingly.[5]

Related to this principle is the common law rule that "a person cannot be deprived of his liberty or property without notice."[6]

Refusal to consider an evidentiary objection is an improper refusal to assume jurisdiction that affects trial fairness.[7]

  1. R v Gustavson, 2005 BCCA 32 (CanLII), per Prowse JA at 64
    See also Moreau‑Bérubé v New Brunswick (Judicial Council), 2002 SCC 11 (CanLII), per Arbour J, at para 75
    Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 301 v Montreal (City), 1997 CanLII 386 (SCC), [1997] 1 SCR 793, per L’Heureux-Dubé J, at para 73 - refereed to as the rule that “no man be condemned unheard"
  2. Devon Canada Corp. v Alberta (Energy and Utilities Board), 2003 ABCA 167 (CanLII), per McFadyen JA, at para 19
  3. Charkaoui v Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2007 SCC 9 (CanLII), per McLachlin CJ, at para 53 ("a fair hearing requires that the affected person be informed of the case against him or her, and be permitted to respond to that case")
  4. R v Berry, 2014 ABQB 379 (CanLII), per Ross J, at para 7
    R v Graham, 2007 ABCA 153 (CanLII), per Ritter JA, at paras 11 to 12
    Fraser v Fraser, 1994 ABCA 275 (CanLII), (1994) 157 AR 98 (C.A.), per curiam, at para 10
  5. Kallaba v Bylykbashi, 2006 CanLII 3953 (ON CA), (2006), 207 O.A.C. 60, per Cronk and Juriansz JA, at para 31
  6. R v Marton, 2016 ONSC 2269 (CanLII), per Cronk and Juriansz JJA, at para 25
    R v Buchholz, [1958] M.J. No.7; 121 CCC 293 (Man. C.A.), 1958 CanLII 435 (MB CA), per Adamson CJ, at para 8
  7. R v Garofoli, 1990 CanLII 52 (SCC), [1990] 2 SCR 1421, per Sopinka J at 1449 citing R v Dersch, 1987 CanLII 155 (BCCA), per Esson JA

Timing of Interrim Rulings

Where a party seeks exclusion of evidence it is for the trial judge to "decide what procedure should be followed".[1]

With "rare exceptions", a judge is "empowered to reserve on any application until the end of the case".[2] This would include application to quash an indictment.[3]

The judge has discretion to defer rulings on the basis that:[4]

  1. "criminal proceedings should not be fragmented by interlocutory proceedings which take on a life of their own" and
  2. it "discourages adjudication of constitutional issues without a factual foundation."

An exception for deferment of rulings are where the "interests of justice necessitate an immediate decision".[5] This will include where "the trial court itself is implicated in a constitutional violation" or where "substantial on-going constitutional violations require immediate attention".[6] As well, situations where an"apparently meritorious Charter challenge of the law under which the accused is charged which is not dependent on facts to be elicited during the trial" should be exceptions.[7] This is especially true where the trial is expected to be of considerable duration.[8]

  1. R v Hamill, [1984] 6 WWR 530, 1984 CanLII 39 (BC CA), per Esson JA
  2. R v DeSousa, [1992] 2 SCR 944, 1992 CanLII 80 (SCC), per Sopinka J
  3. DeSousa, ibid. ("He or she is not obliged, therefore, to rule on a motion to quash for invalidity of the indictment until the end of the case after the evidence has been heard.")
  4. DeSousa, ibid.
  5. DeSousa, ibid.
  6. DeSousa, ibid.
  7. DeSousa, ibid.
  8. DeSousa, ibid.

Rules of Court

See also: Case Management and Rules of Court

Under s. 482(1) and (2), a superior court and provincial have the power to make rules governing criminal proceedings.

Under s. 482.1, the courts also have the power the makes rules with respect to case management.[1]

  1. See also Case Management

Hearing Evidence at Trial

Must Consider All Admissible Evidence

A trial judge must consider all evidence relating to the issue of innocence or guilt.[1] Failure to do so is an error of law.[2]

However, there is no requirement that the judge "record all or any specific part of the process of deliberation on the facts".[3] A failure to record facts does not give rise to an error unless the judge's reasons demonstrate that not all the facts were considered.[4]

When considering evidence on a multi-count indictment, the judge just give separate consideration to a verdict on each count.[5]

Exposure to Inadmissible Evidence

Judges are regularly required to decide on whether it is properly admissible or not and disregard inadmissible evidence they are exposed to. It will not generally create an apprehension of bias. [6]

Considering Theories of Counsel

Subject to "due process concerns", there is no prohibition on the trial judge making findings of guilt on a theory that has not been advanced by the Crown.[7]

  1. R v Morin, 1992 CanLII 40 (SCC), [1992] 3 SCR 286, per Sopinka J at 296 (SCR)
    R v DLW, 2013 BCSC 1327 (CanLII), per Romilly J, at para 3
  2. Morin, supra, at p. 296 (SCR)
  3. Morin, supra, at p. 296
    R v Walle, 2012 SCC 41 (CanLII), [2012] 2 SCR 438, per Moldaver J, at para 46
  4. Morin, supra, at p. 296
    Walle, supra, at para 46
  5. R v Howe, 2005 CanLII 253 (ON CA), per Doherty JA, at para 44
  6. R v SS, 2005 CanLII 791 (ON CA), per curiam, at para 3
    R v Novak, 1995 CanLII 2024 (BCCA), per Prowse JA, at para 8
    See Reasonable Apprehension of Bias
  7. R v Dagenais, 2018 ONCA 63 (CanLII), per McCombs JA (ad hoc), at para 55 ("It is well-established that, subject to due process concerns, a conviction may be founded on a theory of liability that has not been advanced by the Crown, provided that theory is available on the evidence")
    R v Pickton, 2010 SCC 32 (CanLII), [2010] 2 SCR 198, per Charron J, at para 19
    R v Khawaja, 2010 ONCA 862 (CanLII), per curiam, at paras 143 to 145
    R v Ranger (2003), 2003 CanLII 32900 (ON CA), 67 O.R. (3d) 1, per Charron JA, at paras 34 to 35
    R v Pawluk, 2017 ONCA 863 (CanLII), per Paciocco JA

Control over Trial Process

A criminal trial court to "control its process" is a fundamental value of the criminal justice system".[1] A judge has "considerable" powers to intervene in a criminal trial to manage the proceedings.[2]

A judge is authorized to make orders "necessary to ensure an orderly trial, without which the administration of justice risks being ...thrown into disrepute".[3]

Superior Court

A Superior Court Justice has the inherent jurisdiction to eliminate any procedural unfairness that arises during a trial.[4]

The Superior court has inherent jurisdiction to control the disclosure process of a matter before the provincial court.[5]

Provincial Court

The "procedural directions contained in the Code are of necessity exhaustive". The powers of a provincial court judge are "entirely statutory."[6] However, "the authority to control the court's process and oversee the conduct of counsel is necessarily implied in the grant of power to function as a court of law. This Court has affirmed that courts can apply a ‘doctrine of jurisdiction by necessary implication’ when determining the powers of a statutory tribunal.” [7]

The inherent powers of a superior court judge to control the court process is said to be equally available to provincial court judges either expressly by statute or by necessary implication.[8]

Consequently, a provincial court judge has implied jurisdiction to "vary one of its own orders in order to correct clerical mistakes or errors arising from an accidental slip or omission or in order to properly reflect the intention of the court"[9]

Reconsidering Judgements

Generally, a "court has a limited power to reconsider and vary its judgment disposing of the case as long as the court is not functus.”[10]

Exclusion of Evidence

There is a limited power of a trial judge to exclude evidence in order to ensure trial fairness where other remedies are not sufficient. However, it is considered an "unusual exercise" of the trial management power. [11]

Prohibition Orders on Defence Conducting their Defence

A judge may limit the examination or cross-examination of witnesses or the right to call defence witness only where it is justified in "clear and compelling circumstances".[12]

Directing Crown Counsel

A trial judge should never direct Crown as to whom they must call to give evidence.[13]

  1. R v Romanowicz (1999), 1999 CanLII 1315 (ON CA), 45 O.R. (3d) 506, per curiam, at para 56
  2. R v Auclair, 2013 QCCA 671 (CanLII), per curiam, at para 55
  3. Auclair, ibid., at para 55
  4. R v Rose, [1998] 3 SCR 262, 1998 CanLII 768 (SCC), per Cory, Iacobucci and Bastarache JJ
  5. DP v Wagg, 2004 CanLII 39048 (ON CA), (2004), 71 O.R. (3d) 229 (C.A.), per Rosenberg JA
    see Disclosure
  6. R v Doyle, 1976 CanLII 11 (SCC), [1977] 1 SCR 597, per Ritchie J
  7. R v Cunningham, 2010 SCC 10 (CanLII), [2010] 1 SCR 331, per Rothstein J, at para 19
  8. R v Doyle, 1976 CanLII 11 (SCC), [1977] 1 SCR 597, per Ritchie J ("Whatever inherent powers may be possessed by a superior court judge in controlling the process of his own Court, it is my opinion that the powers and functions of a magistrate acting under the Criminal Code are circumscribed by the provisions of that statute and must be found to have been thereby conferred either expressly or by necessary implication.")
  9. see R v Rhingo, [1997] OJ No 1110 (Ont. C.A.), 1997 CanLII 418 (ON CA), per Charron JA
    R v Robichaud, 2012 NBCA 87 (CanLII), [2012] NBJ No. 175 (C.A.), per Bell JA
  10. R v Adams, 1995 CanLII 56 (SCC), [1995] 4 SCR 707, per Sopinka J, at para 29
  11. R v Spackman, 2012 ONCA 905 (CanLII), per Watt JA
  12. R v Colpitts, 2017 NSSC 22 (CanLII), per Coady J, at para 18
    R v Schneider, 2004 NSCA 99 (CanLII), per Cromwell JA
  13. R v Cook, [1997] 1 SCR 1113, 1997 CanLII 392 (SCC), per L’Heureux-Dubé J, at para 56 ("...nor do I think that a trial judge should ever order the Crown to produce a witness. If the Crown wished to adopt such a procedure in a given case, however, this would, of course, be within the legitimate exercise of its discretionary authority.")

Judicial Intervention

Limiting Evidence

The judge is required to listen to evidence that "advances the work of the court". He or she cannot be required to listen to irrelevant or pointless evidence.[1] The judge may even disallow the submission of non-relevant evidence.[2]

The judge has an obligation to track the admission of evidence to ensure that the record is restricted to what is admissible, and also that it is only used for the purpose for which it was admitted.[3]

The judge has the jurisdiction to edit the evidence, including written statements and oral testimony, as it is given. The judge may edit out portions of the evidence that is prejudicial or otherwise irrelevant or immaterial only so long as it does not distort the probative evidence.[4]

  1. R v Malmo-Levin, 2003 SCC 74 (CanLII), [2003] 3 SCR 571, per Gonthier and Binnie JJ
  2. R v Schneider, 2004 NSCA 99 (CanLII), per curiam
  3. R v Morrisey, 1995 CanLII 3498 (ON CA), (1995), 22 O.R. (3d) 514, per Doherty JA
    R v Smith, 2011 ONCA 564 (CanLII), per Epstein JA, at para 59
  4. R v Dubois (1986), 27 CCC (3d) 325 (Ont.C.A.), 1986 CanLII 4683 (ON CA), per Morden JA
    R v Toten, 1993 CanLII 3427 (ON CA), (1993), 14 O.R. (3d) 225 (Ont.C.A.), per Doherty JA

Reserving Questions for Decision

Trial continuous

645 (1) ...

Questions reserved for decision

(4) A judge, in any case tried without a jury, may reserve final decision on any question raised at the trial, or any matter raised further to a pre-hearing conference, and the decision, when given, shall be deemed to have been given at the trial.

Questions reserved for decision in a trial with a jury

(5) In any case to be tried with a jury, the judge before whom an accused is or is to be tried has jurisdiction, before any juror on a panel of jurors is called pursuant to subsection 631(3) [manner of drawing cards] or (3.1) [power to order calling out names on cards] and in the absence of any such juror, to deal with any matter that would ordinarily or necessarily be dealt with in the absence of the jury after it has been sworn.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 645; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 133; 1997, c. 18, s. 76; 2001, c. 32, s. 43.
[annotation(s) added]


Note up: 645(4) and (5)

Exclusion Public from Hearing

Fact Finding

See also: Analyzing Testimony#Findings of Fact

Sitting Position of Accused

Independent Research of the Judge

A judge should not enter "into the fray" by doing self-directed research that puts them in a role of being "advocate, witness and judge".[1]

A judge can only rely on social studies, literature or scientific reports after they have been tested by the parties.[2]

  1. R v Bornyk, 2015 BCCA 28 (CanLII), per Saunders JA (3:0) - judge did separate research on finger print evidence and performed own analysis
    R v BMS, 2016 NSCA 35 (CanLII), per curiam (3:0)
  2. BMS, ibid., at para 17
    R v SDP (1995), 1995 CanLII 8923 (ON CA), 98 CCC (3d) 83 (Ont.C.A.), at 36 paras 33, 36{{{3}}}
    Cronk v. Canadian General Insurance Co. (1995), 1995 CanLII 814 (ON CA), 85 O.A.C. 54, per Lacourciere JA, at paras 47, 49 to 51
    R v Désaulniers (1994), 1994 CanLII 5909 (QC CA), 93 CCC (3d) 371, (Que.C.A.), per Tourigny JA, at paras 21, 23-24, 26-27

Judge Bound to Proceedings

Any justice may act before and after trial

790 (1) Nothing in this Act or any other law shall be deemed to require a justice before whom proceedings are commenced or who issues process before or after the trial to be the justice or one of the justices before whom the trial is held.

Two or more justices

(2) Where two or more justices have jurisdiction with respect to proceedings, they shall be present and act together at the trial, but one justice may thereafter do anything that is required or is authorized to be done in connection with the proceedings.
(3) and (4) [Repealed, R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 172]
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 790; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 172.


Note up: 790(1) and (2)

Loss of Judge During Proceedings

Doctrine of Functus Officio

Communications with Counsel Out of Court

Ex parte communications (i.e. communications in absence of one of the parties) concerning an ongoing proceedings should be avoided. It is a rule that relates to the "public perception of fairness within the administration of justice". [1] It also preserves "confidence of the public in the impartiality of the judiciary and thereby in the administration of justice".[2]

Ex parte communications between judge and counsel concerning a case will "almost invariably raise a reasonable apprehension of bias".[3]

  1. R v Deleary, 2007 CanLII 71720 (ON SC), per Templeton J, at para 22
  2. R v Jones, 1996 CanLII 8006 (ON SC), (1996), 107 CCC (3d) 517 (Ont. G.D.), per Then J
  3. Jones and Deleary, ibid.

Duty to Make a Record

Under Part XX of the Code, there is a duty upon the court to keep a record of every arraignment and all proceedings after the arraignment.

Record of Proceedings
How recorded

624 (1) It is sufficient, in making up the record of a conviction or acquittal on an indictment, to copy the indictment and the plea that was pleaded, without a formal caption or heading.

Record of proceedings

(2) The court shall keep a record of every arraignment and of proceedings subsequent to arraignment.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 552.


Note up: 624(1) and (2)

Endorsements on the Information

Where an election is made to supreme court, either judge alone or judge and jury, the court must endorse the information showing the "nature of the election" and whether anyone requested a preliminary inquiry.[1]

Where an election is made to provincial court before a provincial court judge, the court must endorse the information with that election.[2]

  1. s. 536(4.1)
  2. s. 536(3)

Maintaining Order

Preserving order in court

484. Every judge or provincial court judge has the same power and authority to preserve order in a court over which he presides as may be exercised by the superior court of criminal jurisdiction of the province during the sittings thereof.

R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 484; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 203.


Note up: 484

This section permits a judge to make an order of contempt for:

  • persistent refusal of accused to stand on entry of the presiding judge.[1]
  • the use of recording devices in the court against the order of the judge.[2]
  • the high degree of intoxication of the accused appearing at trial[3]

This section cannot be used to order the mode of dress of counsel.[4]

Ordering Sheriff to Detain Accused

Flowing from the trial management powers, the trial judge as a right and responsibility to control proceedings and control the conduct of those before them. This includes directing the sheriffs to detain, handcuff or otherwise interfere with the accused's liberty where necessary.[5]

  1. R v Heer, 1982 CanLII 786 (BC SC), per Andrews J, at para 17
    Re Hawkins, 53 W.W.R. 406, 53 DLR (2d) 453, [1966] 3 CCC 43 (sub nom. R v Hume; Ex parte Hawkins) (B.C.), 1965 CanLII 655 (BC SC), per Branca J
  2. R v Barker (Burke), 1980 ABCA 75 (CanLII), [1980] 4 W.W.R. 202, 53 CCC (2d) 322, 20 A.R. 611 (C.A.), per Morrow JA (3:0)
  3. Heer, supra
  4. Heer, supra, at para 17
    R v Samson; Bardon v Carver Prov. J. (1974), 14 N.S.R. (2d) 592, 29 C.R.N.S. 129, (sub nom. Re Samson and R.) 18 CCC (2d) 552, 50 DLR (3d) 365 (T.D.), 1974 CanLII 1292 (NS SC), per Hart J
  5. R v Millar, 2019 BCCA 298 (CanLII), per Fitch JA, at to 70 paras to 70{{{3}}}

Misc Powers

The judge does not have the power to order that counsel not communicate with a witness who is not in the middle of testimony. The rules of contempt of court and Professional Conduct are the only limitations on counsel's right to speak with witnesses and clients in court.[1]

Execution of Orders

Under s. 3.1 of the Code, any order made by any type of judge will be effective immediately unless otherwise stated:

Effect of judicial acts

3.1 (1) Unless otherwise provided or ordered, anything done by a court, justice or judge is effective from the moment it is done, whether or not it is reduced to writing.

Clerk of the court

(2) Unless otherwise provided or ordered, if anything is done from the bench by a court, justice or judge and it is reduced to writing, the clerk of the court may sign the writing.

2002, c. 13, s. 2; 2019, c. 25, s. 3


Note up: 3.1(1) and (2)

  1. R v Arsenault, (1956) 115 CCC 400 (NBCA)(*no CanLII links)


Superior Court Inherent Jurisdiction

All Courts that are created by s. 96 of the Constitution Act, 1867 are vested with "inherent jurisdiction" to make orders on matters that are not necessarily authorized by statute.[1]

The doctrine is of an "amorphous nature".[2] And can be used in "an apparently inexhaustible variety of circumstances and may be exercised in different ways".[3]

The doctrine is available as a "residual source of powers" that is available to a judge "whenever it is just or equitable to do so", which includes:[4]

  • ensuring "the observance of due process of law";
  • preventing "improper vexation or oppression";
  • "do justice between the parties" and
  • securing "a fair trial" between the parties.

It can be used to "supplement under-inclusive legislation or to otherwise fill gaps in appropriate circumstances".[5]

This jurisdiction may allow for the superior court to order the funding of costs associated with a matter before the provincial court where the following criteria are met:[6]

  1. the litigation would be unable to proceed if the order were not made;
  2. the claim to be adjudicated is prima facie meritorious;
  3. the issues raised transcend the individual interest of the particular litigant, are of public importance, and have not been resolved in previous cases.

In considering these criteria, the justice must be satisifed that the matter is "sufficiently special that it would be contrary to the interests of justice to deny the advance costs application".[7]


The doctrine may be limited by statute. It cannot be used in such a way that it contravenes any statutory provision.[8]

It is also limited by "institutional roles and capacities that emerge out of our constitutional framework and values".[9]

It generally should be exercised "sparingly and with caution", such as where "inferior tribunals are powerless to act act and it is essential to avoid an injustice that action be taken."[10]

Examples of Application

A publication ban was ordered by inherent jurisdiction.[11] A publication ban can also be removed by inherent jurisdiction.[12]

A superior court has limited inherent powers to reconsider its own orders, except where the legislation otherwise prohibits reconsideration.[13]

  1. R v Caron, 2011 SCC 5, [2011] 1 SCR 78, per Binnie J (8:1), at para 21 (These powers are derived "not from any statute or rule of law, but from the very nature of the court as a superior court of law" to enable "the judiciary to uphold, to protect and to fulfil the judicial function of administering justice according to law in a regular, orderly and effective manner".)
    Ontario v Criminal Lawyers’ Association of Ontario, [2013] 3 SCR 3, 2013 SCC 43 (CanLII), per Karakatsanis J (5:4), at para 18
  2. Ontario v CLAO, supra, at para 22
  3. Caron, supra, at para 29
  4. Ontario v CLAO, supra, at para 20
    Parsons v Ontario, 2015 ONCA 158 (CanLII), per Lauwers JA
  5. CR v Children's Aid Society of Hamilton, 2004 CanLII 34407 (ON SC), per Czutrin J, at para 29
  6. Caron, supra, at para 39
  7. Caron, supra, at para 39
  8. Parsons, supra, at para 71
    Ontario v CLAO, supra, at para 23
  9. Parsons, supra, at paras 72 to 73
    Ontario v CLAO, supra, at para 24
  10. Caron, supra, at para 30
  11. R v Church of Scientology of Toronto, 1986 CarswellOnt 925 (S.C.)(*no CanLII links)
  12. R v Ireland, 2005 CanLII 45583 (ON SC), per Del Frate J
  13. R v Adams, [1995] 4 SCR 707, 1995 CanLII 56 (SCC), per Sopinka J, at para 28 - in context of reconsidering a publication ban under s. 486

Doctrine of Mootness

Under the doctrine of "mootness" suggests that a court may decline to decide a case that "raises merely a hypothetical or abstract question" that "will not have the effect of resolving some controversy which affects or may affect the rights of the parties".[1]

  1. Borowski v Canada (Attorney General), 1989 CanLII 123 (SCC), [1989] 1 SCR 342, per Sopinka J, at para 15
    R v Smith, [2004] 1 SCR 385, 2004 SCC 14 (CanLII), per Binnie J

Civility and Professionalism

Tone of Reasons

The reasons for judgement should be "restrained and appropriate, clinical in tone and minimalist in approach".[1]


A judge found to be sleeping during trial will affect trial fairness and warrant a retrial.[2]

  1. Canada v Olumide, 2017 FCA 42 (CanLII), per Stratas JA, at para 39
  2. Cesan v The Queen, (2008) 83 ALJR 43 (Australia High Court)

Validity of Orders

Validity of Forms (Part XXVIII)


849 (1) The forms set out in this Part [Pt. XXVIII – Miscellaneous (s. 841 to 849)], varied to suit the case, or forms to the like effect are deemed to be good, valid and sufficient in the circumstances for which they are provided.

Seal not required

(2) No justice is required to attach or affix a seal to any writing or process that he or she is authorized to issue and in respect of which a form is provided by this Part [Pt. XXVIII – Miscellaneous (s. 841 to 849)].

Official languages

(3) Any pre-printed portions of a form set out in this Part, varied to suit the case, or of a form to the like effect shall be printed in both official languages.
2002, c. 13, s. 84.
[annotation(s) added]


Note up: 849(1), (2) and (3)

Judicial Decisions

When drafting a decision, judges are expected to articulate the contested elements of the offence and give each element "dedicated attention" in their analysis.[1]

  1. R v Bradley, 2020 ONCA 206 (CanLII, per curiam, at para 9 ("It is always appreciated when trial judges articulate the contested elements of the offence and give each dedicated attention, but it is not an error to fail to do so where it is apparent that the required conclusions were made. That is the case here.")

Judicial Neutrality and Bias

Sufficiency of Reasons for Judgement

Misc Authority of Youth Court Justice

Misc Other Authorities

Provincial Court Judges

Officials with powers of two justices

483 Every judge or provincial court judge authorized by the law of the province in which he is appointed to do anything that is required to be done by two or more justices may do alone anything that this Act or any other Act of Parliament authorizes two or more justices to do.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 483; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 203.


Note up: 483

Maintaining Records

Application of Parts XVI, XVIII, XX and XXIII

572 The provisions of Part XVI [Pt. XVI – Compelling Appearance of an Accused Before a Justice and Interim Release (s. 493 to 529.5)], the provisions of Part XVIII [Pt. XVIII – Procedure on Preliminary Inquiry (s. 535 to 551)] relating to transmission of the record by a provincial court judge where he holds a preliminary inquiry, and the provisions of Parts XX [Pt. XX – Procedure in Jury Trials and General Provisions (s. 574 to 672)] and XXIII [Pt. XXIII – Sentencing (s. 716 to 751.1)], in so far as they are not inconsistent with this Part, apply, with such modifications as the circumstances require, to proceedings under this Part [Pt. XIX – Indictable Offences – Trial Without a Jury (s. 552 to 572)].
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 572; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 203.
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Note up: 572

Under Part XX relating to jury trials:

Taking evidence

646 On the trial of an accused for an indictable offence, the evidence of the witnesses for the prosecutor and the accused and the addresses of the prosecutor and the accused or counsel for the accused by way of summing up shall be taken in accordance with the provisions of Part XVIII [Pt. XVIII – Procedure on Preliminary Inquiry (s. 535 to 551)], other than subsections 540(7) to (9) [adducing hearsay and other credible and trustworthy evidence], relating to the taking of evidence at preliminary inquiries.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 646; 2002, c. 13, s. 59.
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Note up: 646

See Also

Other Parties