Where do I start for information on Criminal Court?

Last reviewed June 2024 by the Clicklaw editors

Over 95% of all criminal cases in BC are heard in Provincial Court. This page highlights resources that you can use to learn more about criminal matters in the BC Provincial Court.

Note: Information providers can download this two-page PDF handout and post it or give it to people seeking information. 

BC’s Criminal Justice System | general info for everyone

This resource from the Government of BC is an introduction to the criminal justice system in BC. It has also has links to information on BC Corrections, bail, parole, and record suspension.

Criminal Cases | info & guides from the Provincial Court

This resource from the BC Provincial Court is a helpful starting point for finding information on criminal cases. At the bottom of the page, you will find links to information about criminal procedure, sentencing, and resources on criminal cases.

Criminal Case Flowchart | stages in a criminal case

This flowchart was created by the BC Provincial Court and highlights the criminal law process. It also includes definitions to help people understand what each stage in the process means.

Criminal Court trial

Representing Yourself in a Criminal Trial | basic Criminal Court process steps

This resource from Legal Aid BC (LABC) explains what can happen when you plead not guilty to a summary offence. It is intended for adults who are facing criminal charges and have been denied legal aid.

  • More Criminal Law Resources from LABC (How to Appeal, If You’re Charged with a Crime, When You’re Told to Have “No Contact,” Speaking to the Judge before You’re Sentenced, Defending Yourself, If You Can’t Get Legal Aid for your Criminal Trial, and more.)

Criminal Law Guidebooks | goes a little further than first steps

This resource from the Justice Education Society (JES) explains what you can expect during criminal trials. From first appearances to verdicts, it covers a variety of topics.

More Information

Defending Yourself Against a Criminal Charge | more on the trial process

This guide from People’s Law School has information on what you can do to defend yourself if you have been charged with a criminal offence and are unable to get a lawyer or legal aid.

LSLAP Manual: Criminal Law | advanced reading

Written by the Law Students’ Legal Advice Program, Chapter 1 in this manual is intended for self-represented litigants who need more in-depth information on the criminal justice process. Self-represented litigants can use this resource to learn more about common issues that they may face while representing themselves in criminal proceedings.

Need help?

The following services can help with free legal advice if you meet their financial eligibility requirements.

The following services provide other assistance you may need throughout the process.

  • Justice Education Society’s Ask JES provides help with legal information and resources. Call/text 1-855-875-8867 or use live chat on their website.
  • Courthouse Libraries BC provides legal information services via a network of libraries in BC courthouses. Call 1-800-665-2570 or email. librarian@courthouselibrary.ca before visiting our library for help with legal research and access to public computers, print materials, and legal databases.

Find more services. 30+ services can help with criminal law matters.