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.


Joint Guardianship

A situation in which both parents together have guardianship of their children. Should one parent die in such circumstances, the other parent becomes the sole guardian of the children. See also: Guardianship.


A person appointed by either the federal or provincial government with the authority to hear and decide legal actions in an impartial manner, independent of influence by the government or agents of the government, whose decisions are binding upon the parties to an action.

Judge Alone Trial

The accused, charged with an indictable offence, has elected to be tried in Supreme Court by a judge without a jury.

Judge and Jury Trial

The accused, charged with an indictable offence, has elected to be tried in Supreme Court by a Judge and jury.


A decision arrived at and pronounced by a court of law.

Judicial Case Conference (JCC)

A confidential meeting that both parties usually must have with a judge/master before any contested court application can be made. The purpose is to clearly identify the issues to be decided, review different ways to resolve the issues (such as settlement conferences, mediation or other ways), and manage the flow of the case in court (for example, the timing of court hearing, or exchanges of information.) Either party may request a JCC at any time.

Judicial Independence

A judge has a responsibility to listen to both sides of a case and then to make an impartial, fair decision based on the evidence and the law. They have the freedom to make that judicial decision without interference or influence from any source. This is called judicial independence.

Judicial Interim Release

See Bail Hearing.

Judicial Review

When a court checks over a decision made by a tribunal to make sure the tribunal did not go beyond what it is allowed to do under the law or did not fail to do what it should have done.


Power of a court or tribunal to deal with a dispute based on the type of dispute and the geographical area where the dispute happens.


In criminal cases, juries are composed of twelve people who will listen to the evidence, follow the Judge's instructions regarding how to apply the law, make findings of fact and decide whether the accused is guilty or not guilty.

Jury Selection

The process by which Crown and defence choose a jury from a panel of eligible jurors.

Justice of the Peace

An officer of the court who has some of the powers of a Judge.