How Are Criminal Cases Docketed and Scheduled?

The justice system in Canada is complicated. It has many steps, starting with an investigation and ending with a sentence. The procedure seeks to be just while safeguarding the rights of the accused to prevent any form of harassment under the Criminal Code. Every stage guarantees that the accusation is handled fairly and that the case is managed efficiently and effectively. This article will delve deeper into these steps, focusing on how criminal cases are docketed and scheduled in Canada.

 Criminal Cases


The process starts with the police conducting an investigation. They collect evidence and talk to witnesses to determine if a crime happened. They charge that person if they have good reasons to think someone committed a crime. This is the initial stage in the criminal justice process.

Laying a Charge

After the investigation, the police laid a charge against the accused. They create an information package, which includes all the evidence against the accused. Once the research is done, the package is sent to the Crown attorney. The accused’s lawyer also received a copy of this package.

First Appearance

The accused then makes their first appearance in court. This is not the trial date but the start of the court process. The accused person is informed about the charges, their rights, and their choices. They can plead guilty or not guilty based on the information provided. Opting for a not-guilty plea leads to scheduling a trial date.


Setting court dates is an essential step in the process. Online court lists give you info like the case name, time, room number, and why someone is there. Prior to the trial, the accused, their lawyer, and the Crown attorney convene to determine the scheduled date for the legal proceedings.

Bail Hearing

When the accused is held, there’s a bail hearing. During this, the court (either a judge or justice of the peace) decides. They consider the evidence and arguments from both sides to determine if the accused should be detained or released. Conditions might be set if they are released.


The trial is the next step in the process. The Crown presents its case first, followed by the defence. Both sides can call witnesses and show evidence during the trial. After that, the judge or jury decides whether the accused is guilty.


If guilty, a sentencing hearing happens. The judge considers crime type, harm caused, and criminal history. Not guilty results in the accused’s release.


Docketing and scheduling criminal cases in Canada involves a detailed process. It starts with an investigation and concludes with a trial or sentencing, including crucial steps in between. Every stage aims to deliver justice while safeguarding the rights of the accused. Understanding this process is vital. It is essential for the accused, lawyers, and the public. It demonstrates the commitment of the Canadian justice system. They have a commitment to fairness, transparency, and to the law. Everyone involved in a criminal case must understand these procedures. It is essential for their participation and comprehension.