OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Self-representation in an Ontario criminal case is a risky move, and that’s why I always tell people they should get a lawyer.
But in both Quebec and British Columbia, the number of people choosing to represent themselves in court has gone up. The trend is discussed by my Montreal colleague Luis Millan throughout his article in the latest issue of Lawyer’s Weekly: Judges Grapple with Unrepresented Litigants.
The article revealed that in Quebec, nearly 42 per cent of individuals appealing criminal sentences are unrepresented litigants. What’s even more alarming is the 38.8 per cent of “treatment cases” in Quebec – those that could be authorized for psychiatric treatment following their criminal charges – who also are proceeding without any legal counsel.
Millan discusses similar numbers in British Columbia and mentions that the figures are climbing in both provinces. I strongly discourage litigating on your own behalf in a criminal case, and here’s why:
- Every Canadian has a right to speak with a lawyer after being arrested. This is a right that cannot be denied regardless of your financial situation – there are programs such as Legal Aid that can help you get the legal advice you require.
- Ontario law is written for lawyers, and they understand it thoroughly. You likely don’t have the same knowledge, background and resources.
- Unrepresented litigants’ lack of litigation experience causes courtroom delays. Moreover, sometimes these litigants find themselves looking to the judge for help – which leads to not only a waste of time, but a conflict for the judge presiding.
If you’ve been charged with a criminal offence, it’s difficult to handle your legal battle alone. An experienced criminal defence lawyer can help you understand your rights, and fight for the best possible results in your case. For more information contact the Ottawa criminal lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.