You will find commonly used legal terms in this glossary. You can click on the letter to jump to the words that begin with that letter or scroll down the page.



Something that is against a specific law such as those found in the Criminal Code of Canada.


Being fair and neutral and not biased or prejudiced; tribunals must have no opinion before they hear the evidence and arguments of both parties to make a decision.

Imputed Income

Imputed Income is income attributed to a person rather than the income actually earned or claimed. If a judge feels that the amount of income a parent claims is not a fair reflection of his or her income, he or she can attribute (impute) income to that person.

In Loco Parentis

A person, usually a step-parent, who acts in place of the parent towards a child of the other spouse.


Free from the authority, control, or domination of somebody or something else. A person is capable of thinking or acting without consultation with or guidance from others.

Indictable Offence

Indictable offences are a category of criminal offences that are usually more serious crimes and carry greater maximum sentences than summary offences. Because these offences may have a more significant consequence to the accused if convicted, the accused has a choice about what level of court will hear the trial. The accused can choose to have the trial held in Provincial Court before a Provincial Court judge. If that is the accused's choice and the accused is found guilty, the potential maximum sentences are the same as if they were tried in a federal court. See Summary Conviction Offence and Hybrid Offence.


An indictment is the process of dealing with more serious (indictable) offences, allowing the accused to elect the mode of trial. In Supreme Court the document containing the formal list of charges is also called the "Indictment."

Indigency (Indigent Status)

Having so little money that one cannot afford to pay court fees. To apply for indigent status, a person must be receiving benefits under the Employment and Assistance Act or the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disability Act. The person must also provide financial information to prove that their income is low as well as information about employment, education, and workplace skills.


The formal document charging criminal offences at the Provincial Court level.

Initial Appearance (Criminal)

A first appearance describes the first time the accused is asked to come to court. 

Innocent until proven guilty

A right protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it means that a person accused of a crime is innocent until the judge or the jury decides that the evidence presented at the trial proves that he or she committed the crime. This is an important principle in the Canadian justice system and is a protection against wrongful conviction.

Interim Order

It is an order made by the decision-maker that serves as a temporary measure until something more complete and permanent can be decided.

Intermittent Sentence

An intermittent sentence allows the offender to serve his or her time of incarceration in intervals.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a pattern of abusive behaviours of one or more partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating or cohabitation and is a form of domestic violence. Intimate partner violence includes acts of physical aggression, psychological abuse, forced intercourse and other forms of sexual coercion, as well as various controlling behaviours such as isolating a person from family and friends or restricting access to information and assistance. See also: Domestic Violence.


Legal matters in dispute between the parties in a case