Procedural Issues

This page includes capsules that address procedural issues relating to the criminal justice system or the manner in which the substantive criminal law is utilized. A few caveats!

  1. Needless to say, this is not legal advice.  It is designed to provide introductory explanations of certain topics in criminal law.
  2. These materials were designed for my students taking part in my criminal law class- as such they are NOT supposed to be comprehensive or exhaustive of the subject.
  3. They were made with time constraints in mind.  There are errors throughout, and though I feel confident about the product generally, I did not attempt to correct every mistake made.  The goal was to put a good product together in a short period of time.
  4. Often, in the interests of time, certain points are generalized.  This doesn’t mean they’re “wrong”, but nuances are often fleshed out in the course materials or in class.  Rather than include caveats with every sentence, I sometimes make broad generalizations even though I’m aware there might be exceptions that can occasionally arise.  Again, the goal is to promote a generalized understanding that provides a platform for deeper learning.
  5. I will heartily disavow any attempt to rely upon these in conflict with another Professor, judge, lawyer, etc.  Thus, anyone who says “yes, but Professor Sankoff said X”… will receive no support from me!  Especially where exams are concerned, it is always good practice to follow your Professor’s view of the law.  If this material helps you, by all means use it, but do so with care.

Burden of Proof in Criminal Proceedings -September 2014

Recorded in September 2014, this short capsule explains why the Crown has to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, what that term means, and what happens when the accused has a “reverse onus” to prove some aspect of his or her defence.

If you are interesting in learning more about burdens of proof, see this video blog, which addresses s. 794 of the Criminal Code, and the burden of proof in summary conviction proceedings.

Classification of Offences – August 2014

Recorded in August 2014, this short capsule explains the difference between indictable, summary conviction and “hybrid” offences.

The Evidentiary Burden  – February 2014

Recorded in February 2014, this short capsule explores the meaning of the evidentiary burden placed upon the accused in criminal proceedings.  In particular, it discusses the meaning of this burden and how the accused can satisfy it.

Jurisdictional Issues Arising in a Prosecution – September 2013

This short capsule was produced for my criminal law class and addresses a few issues involving jurisdiction in criminal proceedings. In particular, it looks at: (1) what happens when a person is charged with both a federal and provincial offence for the same conduct (eg. dangerous and careless driving); (2) who prosecutes when a person is charged with crimes that go in the federal and provincial jurisdiction (eg. importing heroin and murder in the same transaction); and (3) which judge has “jurisdiction” over which crimes?

Routes of Appeal – January 2015

This capsule sets out the way in which criminal appeals proceed as a matter of procedure.  It sets out the difference between appeals as of right and by leave, shows the various routes of appeal, and outlines when an appellate court is likely to allow or dismiss an appeal.

This material has taken considerable time and effort to produce.  I ask only two things in return.  First, if you like these capsules – pass them on.  The primary objective here is to share a deeper understanding for the subject area I love most.  Second, if any of this was in any way useful, I urge you to let me know.  A short note at, or a comment (below), or even a “like”, would really make my day!

3 thoughts on “Procedural Issues

  1. I teach criminal law as well as penal procedure and I have used different capsules to prepare my class, it has been of brat use. I encouraged my students to watch them and have received much positive feed back. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge in an interesting and educative way.

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