How much will it cost?

Generally, cost depends on the size and complexity of the file. I do offer block fees (set prices) for some services, such as:

  • Notary: $50 per document
  • Bail hearings: $500.00 + HST
  • Record suspensions ("Pardons"): $1000.00 + HST

In accordance with Rules of Professional Conduct, our fees are "fair and reasonable" and discussed up front with the client on a per-case basis so there are no surprises.

Disbursements, such as filing fees, photocopies, etc. are paid at cost and billed to the client

For more information, or to book an appointment please call 613-8987-1119

 

Do we offer free consultations?

Yes, a first 30-minute consultation via phone or in person is free.

Call us at 613-897-1119 to book an appointment.

 

Do we accept Legal Aid Certificates?

Yes, we proudly accept legal aid certificates as part of our mandate to ensure wider access to justice for all.

We are qualified to accept legal aid certificates for Criminal and Ontario Review Board matters.

 

Do we travel outside of Ottawa?

Yes, we are licensed in Ontario but qualified to practice in any jurisdiction in Canada. We are mobile both around and beyond Ontario in order to assist you with your legal issue.

In addition to Ottawa, we serve the immediate surrounding areas of Brockville, Cornwall, L'Orignal, Renfrew, Pembroke and Smiths Falls. Contact us today!

When is my court date? How do I find out my court date?

 

If you were charged with a crime but released at the scene of the crime or from the police station, you were given a "Promise to Appear." This is a yellow or white piece of paper which gives a time and date for your first appearance in court. In Ottawa, typically first appearance court is held in courtroom #5 at 8:30 A.M. everyday, Monday to Friday. Domestic Violence court is held on Fridays. Monday to Thursday is organized alphabetically according to last name, with the beginning of the alphabet starting at the beginning of the week.

If it's not your first appearance and you cannot get a hold of your lawyer to find out your next court date, attend the courthouse at the Criminal Counter (Counter #2 across from the security desk) and ask. You can also call 613-239-1153 for Court information, but they might not provide it over the phone.

If you have a civil matter and need your court date, you can telephone Court Information at 613-239-1153 or attend at the civil or small claims counter at the Courthouse, 161 Elgin Street, Ottawa ON, K2P 2K1.

What is a surety? (Surety, not Shurety or Shurity or Assurety or asurety....)

A surety is a person who can guarantee that you will go to court and comply with bail conditions. They also guarantee to the court that you won't break the law during the time that you are in their care. A surety who comes forward and is appointed by the court is bound to guarantee attendance and compliance of an accused until the accused is discharged or sentenced. Alternatively, the surety can revoke their status by personally attending at the courthouse and revoking their surety of the accused. The surety might have put up a bond. A bond is a promise to the court that if the accused fails to satisfy a condition of his or her release, and the surety fails to notify the police of the breach, that the money can be seized by the Crown. Bonds are not paid up front, but are collected by the Crown at a later time.

What do you need to be a surety?

Good sureties are typically people who are responsible, law-abiding, organized, diligent, and who are proximate or who have adequate space  in their home and schedule to supervise the accused. Ideally, a good surety is one who knows the accused well and who can help him or her attend court and keep appointments for things such as mental health assessments, rehab, counselling, AA meetings and the like. A good surety is one who can clearly follow the conditions laid out in the recognizance and who can be relied on to call the police in the event of a breach.

A surety must have a permanent address where the accused can be located.

It is preferable if the surety does not have a criminal record. This may or may not rule you out - it'll depend on the nature and age of your own charges and what circumstances you know the accused and where you stand now. It is not entirely impossible to be someone's surety if you can demonstrate a pro-social lifestyle and a long-term break from any criminal past.

A good surety testifies honestly and succinctly by answering the question that is posed. You will likely testify at a bail hearing for the accused if you come forward as a surety. It is important that you spend a little bit of time preparing for court. Dress appropriately, don't chew gum, be polite, and don't get defensive when the Crown, Defence or the Justice of the Peace asks you questions about your background and the appropriateness of your candidacy to be a surety.

Once you are deemed a surety, your responsibilities are to make sure the accused attends court and fulfills any conditions that are required. In terms of fulfilling those conditions vis-a-vis dealing with the accused and enforcing house rules that comply with those conditions, you have the final say and now you have the backing of a court order (recognizance) behind you. If at any time it becomes impossible or there is an imminent breach, you can revoke your surety by attending at the courthouse in the Justice of the Peace Intake office.

Can I get paid to be a surety?

No, you cannot. It is illegal to receive payment in exchange for being a surety. There are no bail bondsmen: this is Canada, not the movies.

Do I have to pay money if I am a surety?

The short answer is usually no. The Court asks for a bond, which is a pledge of a sum of money usually at least $500.00. The money is not collected up front, but can be collected by the Crown if the accused breaches his or her conditions and the surety fails to notify the Court of the breach or revoke themselves as surety.

In circumstances where the Court feels that a higher amount of money or more security is required to give both the accused and the surety the incentive to comply with the conditions, the Court may impose cash bail. Cash bail requires that a sum of money be paid up front. Sometimes it is a standalone component of bail, other times it can be combined with a bond.

Have more questions? Don't hesitate to give us a call: 613-897-1119

Can I go on vacation out of the country if I have criminal charges?

The answer is maybe.

Keep in mind you are on release conditions or were given a promise to appear and have to attend for court dates. That is a must. But if you or your lawyer is able to obtain an adjournment and you will attend the next date, then you should be fine. The first concern is attending court dates. There is a fear of absconding (running away), so you should make sure first that you don't have a condition to reside at a specific address or if you have to notify the police of any change in address. You may be able to leave if you fulfill those conditions first.

If you are released for a dangerous offence, such as a weapons offence, terrorism, or drug trafficking, the answer will be different. It is likely that the country you will visit or whose airspace you will fly over, will refuse you entry. They have that right.

At this time of year, many people have travel plans. It is best to be organized and proactive and make sure you and your lawyer are on the same page and you're not in breach of any release conditions.

 

Will I get my settlement if the defendant is bankrupt?

Maybe. It depends on your ranking as an unsecured creditor and the amount of assets the defendant has that will be liquidated at the time of bankruptcy. You should be contacted by a Trustee in Bankruptcy. 

Typically, however, once a defendant declares bankruptcy, he or she is protected from any claim subsequent to the bankruptcy. If there was an endorsed terms of settlement or a court order in terms of a judgment, then you're more likely to be prioritized as a creditor.

Contact your lawyer and the Trustee to find out more.

How do I change the sex or gender on my birth certificate?

This answer is condensed from the Service Ontario website.

 If you are a person who is:

  • 16 years or older
  • whose birth was registered in Ontario

you can apply to change the gender on your birth certificate. If you were born in another province, you will have to apply to that province to change the gender on your birth certificate before changing gender on other documents, such as your passport or driver's licence.

You will need:

What do I need to bring to a notary?

  • two pieces of valid government-issued ID complete with name and current address. At least one of these must contain a photo in the bearer's likeness.

  • document(s) to be notarized

  • payment in the form of cash or credit

What do I need to bring to a lawyer?

Bring ID. Lawyers are required to verify the identity of their clients.If you're an adult, bring two pieces of identification clearly indicating your name, birthdate and address. A driver's licence is ideal. If you do not have a driver's licence, an identity card (obtainable at City Hall) is acceptable. If you're a minor, a birth certificate will suffice along with proof of address, such as a bill or confirmation from your parent or CAS worker. A health card is not a valid form of identification. 

Bring your story. This could include the contract, photographs, emails, any notes you made about the dispute or events in question, cell phone records, alibis. The sooner we comb through the material, and the more up front you are with your lawyer, the more organized we can be for you, and the faster we can get the ball rolling - which saves you money in the end.

Bring your honesty. This is a safe space. The relationship between you and your lawyer is a highly protected one. You need to feel comfortable enough with your lawyer to give them all the facts they need to make informed decisions and properly defend your case.

A Parent's Role when a Youth has been arrested

Being a parent of an accused is a precarious job. This FAQ will attempt to answer "What do I do as the parent of an arrested young person." This FAQ will focus on being the parent of a minor who is arrested. For information about being a surety, see the above FAQ, "What is a surety?". This FAQ is addressed to parents who have a child under 18 who has been arrested and is in police custody prior to being released or having a bail hearing.

It's anytime of day. You're busy - busy working, busy sleeping, busy doing what adults do -  when an urgent call comes on your cell phone from a number called "No caller ID". You answer it. It's the police, and they inform you that they have arrested your son or daughter for _______________. They tell you they're required to notify a parent under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. You are notified. Then they ask you to come down to the station to identify your child and retrieve them.

You are no longer busy working, busy sleeping, busy doing what adults do. Instead you experience a range of emotions: fear of the police, disappointment, frustration with your child, anger, resentment. You want to teach him or her a lesson. You want them to never forget this. You want them to appreciate everything you've done for him or her their entire life. You want to protect them from the world, and maybe even from themselves. This is what it is to be a parent of an accused. You feel alone, like it's your burden alone, like it's somehow your fault. That's where you're wrong.

When an accused person is arrested, they have an automatic right to counsel without delay. That means they must speak to a lawyer right away before any further action is taken. This is a constitutional protection, not a technicality.

As a parent, you're not arrested, so you don't have the same right. But you should take the same precaution. As a lawyer, when I deal with youths in custody, I am often asked by the client to telephone a parent. Parents have a lot of questions about the charges, what happens next, procedure, jail, etc. Parents, if you have a chance to speak to a lawyer, find out how best to proceed in a way that will not undermine the rights of the accused, your child.

In the example above, the parent is asked to attend the station and identify the young person. Identification is one of the points in the case that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecution. In one case I had, the parent showed up at the station and was asked to identify the child in surveillance photographs. At this point, the parent should have sought legal advice. The accused is protected from incriminating him or herself, but by extension, this should extend to a parent. It is one thing for the parent to identify the accused for the purpose of being informed under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, but it is an entirely different thing to get a non-witness to identify the accused at the scene of the crime. Identification is the job of the police and prosecution. Seek independent legal advice. You can call us at 613-897-1119 or you can ask to see the police list of lawyers at the station in order to speak to someone.