Glossary - Criminal Law

absolute discharge

In Criminal Law

An absolute discharge is a type of sentence. Absolute discharge means that the court found you guilty, but decided not to punish you in any other way. You don’t get a criminal record. Absolute discharges are automatically removed from the Canadian Police Information Center computer system 1 year after the court’s decision.

absolute jurisdiction offence

In Criminal Law

A trial for an absolute jurisdiction offence is always held in the Ontario Court of Justice. You do not have an election. Absolute jurisdiction offences are listed in section 553 of the Criminal Code. Some examples include:

  • theft of something valued $5000 or less
  • fraud under $5000
  • failure to comply with recognizance
  • failure to comply with probation order

In Criminal Law

An acquittal means that the court found you not guilty.

actus reus

In Criminal Law

Actus reus is one of the two elements of a crime the Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to prove your guilt. It refers to the guilty act.

There are two ways you can commit a guilty act. You can:

  • do something that is against the law, or
  • fail to do something required by the law

In Criminal Law

To adjourn a case means to re-schedule it to continue at some later time. This can be as early as the next day, or as late as months later, depending on the reason for the adjournment. This is not the same as a recess. A recess is when the court takes a break but comes back the same day.


In Criminal Law

If your case is adjourned, it will be finished in court for that day, and will continue on a future date. You will have to come back to court for your next court date.


In Criminal Law

An adjournment is when your day in court is cancelled and rescheduled for another date. This can happen for many reasons, for example, if you aren’t ready to go to court or the court does not have time to hear your case on a particular day.

administration of justice

In Criminal Law

The administration of justice is the process through which the justice system works. It includes the people, activities, and organization of the justice system. It is used to find, investigate, arrest, and try people suspected of committing a criminal offence.


In Criminal Law

An affidavit is a document where a witness makes statements about facts that they say are true. The document must be sworn in front of an authorized person, such as a lawyer or commissioner of oaths.


In Criminal Law

An agent is someone you ask to act on your behalf. It can be a lawyer, a paralegal, a family member, or a friend. You can ask an agent to go to court for you if the offence you were charged with carries a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail and/or a $5000 fine and is:

The person acting as your agent appears in the court as if they are you.

If your case is indictable (or hybrid and the crown has not elected), you need a “designation of counsel” in order to have your lawyer or their agent appear on your behalf.

Hide this website