What Does A Criminal Litigation Lawyer Do?

June 17, 2020

A criminal litigation lawyer represents an individual or organization charged with criminal offences under provincial or federal legislation. The lawyer’s role extends beyond the courtroom, with involvement before and after the trial.


Securing a criminal defence lawyer is an important step after an arrest. Right from the get-go they help you avoid early mistakes, understand your charges, and help you navigate the legal process. As formal pre-trial preparations begin, their role becomes even more involved.


Your litigation lawyer commences an assessment to get a better picture of your situation. They review the evidence relevant to your charges, both for and against you as well as investigating the allegations. This helps give an idea of what sort of case the Crown may make against you and how compelling their evidence is. Thus, informing their defensive strategy.

Court Preparation

In advance of the trial date, the litigation lawyer prepares and frames their defence plan. They conduct a thorough review of the Police and Crown disclosure (evidence), they request further disclosure such as officers’ notes or forensic evidence. They interview potential defence witnesses and consult with any expert witnesses. Finally, they start preparing the client for trial.  

Resolution Meetings

Before a criminal trial, the litigation lawyer may have meetings or discussions with Crown attorneys and, sometimes, judges. One such discussion is a Crown Resolution Meeting.

In addition to seeking possible resolutions and/or diversions, these meetings can address topics such as disclosure concerns, bail conditions, and trial time estimates. In some instances, these resolution meetings can be an opportunity for the criminal litigation lawyer to share information that could lead to the Crown withdrawing charges. Other times these meetings are important to learn how the Crown is planning to call their case and some of the weaknesses in the prosecution strategy and evidence. 

Dismissing Evidence 

Upon assessing the evidence and how it was obtained, the litigation lawyer may draft a motion to strike or dismiss evidence. These applications or motions are usually done immediately before trials.

For instance, if the police use a wiretap to intercept communication without a valid warrant or in a way that interferes with the client’s Charter Right, the lawyer can bring a Garofoli Application to have the trial judge dismiss the evidence.

A lawyer who is experienced in challenging evidence can have a significant impact on the outcome of your trial.

The Trial

If the case proceeds to a trial, the criminal lawyer can represent you in court. It is their duty to protect your rights throughout the criminal trial process. At trial, they examine and test the Crown’s evidence and witnesses, questioning its importance and relevance, as well as exploring other interpretations. At trial, it is always the Crown Attorney’s burden to prove the case. 


If you are convicted of a criminal offence, your criminal defence lawyer may start an appeal, if appropriate. For an appeal to be successful your appeal lawyer must be able to demonstrate that a factual or legal error was made that affected the outcome of the trial.

Toronto Criminal Litigation Lawyer

If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges in the GTA, a criminal litigation lawyer is your best option. They will help you understand your charges, options, and potential outcomes.

William Jaksa is an experienced criminal defence lawyer with a strong track record of defending his clients’ interests and rights. Contact Jaksa today for a consultation.

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