Overview of Canadian Criminal Procedure

In the criminal justice system, jurisdiction is the legal power by which a court is authorized to preside over the hearing of a particular offence and accused. A Superior Court of a Province or Territory has original and plenary jurisdiction in all criminal matters unless its jurisdiction is expressly prohibited by statute. Additionally, a Superior Court has an inherent supervisory role to remedy procedural unfairness. All appellate courts, by their very nature, have jurisdiction only to hear appeals where that jurisdiction is expressly conferred upon the appellate court by statute.

Even the consent of an accused cannot confer jurisdiction upon a court where such jurisdiction does not exist by statute or common-law. An accused person is permitted to waive compliance with common-law requirements on procedural or evidentiary matters, as long as that waiver is express and informed. Our courts have consistently found a true waiver requires a demonstration that the accused is aware of the consequences of the waiver.1

1 R. v. Clarkson, [1986] 1 SCR 383 (SCC).

This is a short excerpt from Patrick Ducharme’s book 2018 Criminal Practice and Procedure.