OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER
1. Ottawa Superior Court of Justice & Ontario Court of Justice
All Ottawa courts are located in one building on Elgin Street, other than provincial offences and the specialized non-criminal federal courts like the Tax Court and Federal Court, plus the final court of criminal appeal the Supreme Court of Canada. So you'll find Superior civil, criminal, family and small claims court, plus provincial criminal court there. You'll also find a couple of specialized regional Superior Courts for Eastern Ontario: the Divisional Court (which hears appeals of small claims and judicial reviews of boards, tribunal and some other administrative matters) and the Bankruptcy Court.
Ottawa Courthouse Parking & Setup
The best parking is under the adjacent City Hall. Enter off either Elgin Street or Laurier Avenue. Street parking is limited, disappears during rush hours, and likely won't last you long enough if you're stuck in court.
Only one public entrance to the courthouse is now available, located off Elgin Street. Be prepared for security screening. Lawyers can show their Law Society membership card to bypass screening.
The building sits around a triangular enclosed atrium soaring to the top of its six stories. There are lots and lots of courtrooms, and its very easy to get lost. Ask at the information desk to the right of the elevators as you enter the courthouse to find out which courtroom your case will be heard in, and how to get there.
Features the darkest courtrooms in Canada. So low is the mood lighting, you'll want to take a nap. While no windows is always a bad thing, you'd think a lack of glaring fluorescent lights beating down on your brain would be a good thing. But here inside the courtrooms it's as if someone forgot to switch on the main lights, and you're just stuck with the after hours mood lighting. Don't let the lighting lull you into a sense of complacency. Hallways have normal lighting, and lots of good seating.
2. Ottawa Provincial Offences Court
Somewhat inconveniently located in the west end of Ottawa (unless of course you live or work in the west end, in which case it's likely very convenient), the Ottawa Provincial Offences Court deals with Highway Traffic Act cases, as well as other non-criminal offences like by-law infractions.
3. Supreme Court of Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada represents the last level of criminal appeal. You might have already been able to take a run at two levels of appeal courts before you get here: a summary conviction appeal before a local Superior Court and an appeal before the Court of Appeal for Ontario in Toronto.
There are very few appeals "as of right" to the Supreme Court of Canada. Instead, you've got to ask for leave to appeal, and generally show that you've got an issue of national importance, not just an issue that's important to you personally. Only about 1 in 10 cases that ask for leave to appeal receive it.
The courthouse building is imposing and located just west of Parliament Hill. Great Art Deco architecture, with Walter Symour Allward (designer of the Vimy Memorial) statues of Justitia and Veritas flanking you as you enter. It's got the best law library in Canada if you can swing permission to use it.
Since very few cases ever make it here, you're more likely to come here as a spectator (it can be a good show if all nine judges are on the bench at the same time), than as a litigant.
Ottawa Superior Court of Justice & Ontario Court of Justice
161 Elgin St, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 2K1 613-239-1054
Ottawa Provincial Offences Court
100 Constellation Drive, Nepean, Ontario, K2G 5J9 613-580-2665
Supreme Court of Canada
301 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0J1 613-995-4330
We May Be Able to Accept Your Criminal Legal Aid Certificate in Ottawa
We accept Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) Certificates for Ottawa in appropriate cases. Gordon Scott Campbell is a member of the LAO's Extremely Serious Criminal Matters Panel.