This booklet outlines some basic information you must be aware of if you plead not guilty to an offence and are planning to represent yourself without a lawyer at your trial. It also provides some advice on how to find a lawyer. The booklet explains what happens during the criminal trial process. The information will help you prepare for your trial if you don’t have a lawyer. If you choose to represent yourself, you are still subject to the law, including rules of procedure and the laws of evidence.
Going to court is a very formal process guided by strict rules. The following resources can help you understand this.
CPLEA Suggested Resources
Not sure where to begin finding answers to your questions. Get started with our suggested resources. See additional resources below for more information.
This booklet offers some basic information that you should be aware of if you choose to represent yourself in Provincial Court - Family. The booklet focuses on preparing for and conducting a trial when you are not represented by a lawyer. This booklet includes information about:
- Resolution options and services that can help you solve your family law issues
- Making a Family Law Act application in the Provincial Court of Alberta
- Answers to questions many people have
- Court processes and court language
- How to find a lawyer
- Preparing for trial if you do not have a lawyer
This page provides information for witnesses that describes when they are required to go to court and when they are told that their attendance is required in a precise, formal way. The method of notice required depends on whether the trial is a criminal trial, or a family or civil law trial. Information is also provided on the additional steps you can take to make sure you are a prepared witness and links to more information such as:
Trial by jury is a cornerstone of our criminal justice system. Through participation in the jury system, people in a community play a direct role in the administration of justice and help to maintain all of our own rights and freedoms. On this webpage you will find information on serving on a jury, eligibility and information regarding a Juror Summons.
The "Landlord and Tenant: What to Do in Court" video provides tips and information on landlord and tenant disputes, what to do in court, and possible decisions a judge may make. Video Transcripts are available in : English | Spanish | French | Arabic | Hindi | Punjabi | Urdu
Information on how to appeal a decision made in the Court of Queen’s Bench, including small claims, family law claims and conviction offences.
This court procedure booklet tells you what steps to take when:
- You are making an application in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta;
- You already have a court file (e.g. divorce, family property, common law property);
- The application you want to make is NOT under the Family Law Act; and
- You have chosen not to get a lawyer and will be representing yourself throughout the court process.
How to order a Provincial Court or Court of Queen's Bench courtroom transcript.
Produced by Student Legal Services of Edmonton. Includes information about: The Case Is Called; The Trial Begins; The Exclusion Order; The Crown's Case; The Defence’s Case; Submissions; Decision; Vocabulary. This resource is also available to download as a PDF.
Representing yourself in court is a daunting task. This issue of LawNow offers some suggestions for success.
This pamphlet from the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta explains some basic points about the Alberta Rules of Court. It may assist you if: you have a legal problem and are looking at your options; you are deciding whether to hire a lawyer or represent yourself; you are already representing yourself; or you have questions for your lawyer about the court process. The Alberta Rules of Court apply to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta. They do not apply in Provincial Court (Small Claims Court). This 2 page full-colour PDF is available for free download.
This online tutorial created by the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta explains what it's like in a criminal courtroom. There are often many people in a courtroom. Knowing who is who, what each person's role is, and what is expected of you as a witness should help you understand what is going on around you.
Traffic Court is part of the Provincial Court of Alberta. It deals with offences pursuant to many provincial statutes and regulations, municipal bylaws and a few specified federal statutes. In spite of its name, Traffic Court is not limited to only hearing traffic related offences. Traffic Court does not deal with most offences created by federal statutes such as the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Young persons aged 12-17 years of age who are charged with a Provincial offence are dealt with in the Youth Division of the Provincial Court of Alberta. In some court locations there is a distinct Youth Traffic Court. Trials in Traffic Court, whether involving an adult or a young person, are usually heard by a Justice of the Peace. However in some locations trials are heard by a Judge of the Provincial Court.
This online publication is provided by the Government of Alberta and is divided into sections including: You've been charged... now what?; Duty Counsel; If you don't have a lawyer; How do you get a lawyer?; Legal Aid; Other Services; Where will the trial be?; Pleading guilty; Getting ready for trial when you have pled not guilty; What happens in court?; and Sentencing.
CCAA is supports professionals, communities, victims and witnesses involved in the investigation of child abuse through the development and delivery of educational products and services; promotion of a coordinated, interdisciplinary approach to child abuse investigations; identification and response to key issues and concerns of child abuse investigators; advocacy for excellence and professionalism in the investigation of child abuse; promotion of the well-being of children and families going through the investigative process; provision of professional training and research. The CCAA produces many resources and tools to assist with court preparation, such as their Court Preparation Curriculum Package which provides court preparation facilitators with the knowledge and materials to successfully prepare children, teens, and parents for their day in court.
This website has multimedia presentations (videos) that provide information on presenting a family matters case in Chambers. The website was created by the Law Courts Education Society of British Columbia but a lot of the information is relevant to other jurisdictions.
The publication of these guidelines received the endorsement of the Canadian Judicial Council. For the jury to follow and apply the guidelines, they must be clear, complete and accurate. A directive model meets these objectives. However, the existence of model guidelines does not mean that there is only one way to instruct a jury on a given topic. A model directive aims to convey essential information that should be provided to a jury in a simple, understandable and correct language. These guidelines provide an example of how this can be done.
The National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP) is committed to advancing understanding of the challenges and hard choices facing the very large numbers of Canadians who come to court without counsel. The Project works to promote dialogue and collaboration among all those affected by the self-represented litigant phenomenon, both justice system professionals and litigants themselves. They publish resources designed specifically for SRLs, as well as research reports that examine the implications for the justice system.
This online resource from the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service takes you—step-by-step—through a Canadian criminal case. It explains the process clearly and simply and will help you to understand how a Canadian criminal prosecution works.