Courtroom Layout in Criminal Trials Infographic

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criminal trial court layout

criminal courtroom layout




  • over 200 locations  across Ontario that handle criminal and family matters
  • Most criminal cases will begin at the OCJ and will then proceed to the SCJ after a OCJ judge has conducted a preliminary hearing and decided to commmit the accused person to stand trial
  • Preliminary hearings are always heard at the OCJ by a provincial judge–this judge  cannot be the trial judge, if the matter proceeds to trial
  • OCJ will hear the following types of criminal offences:
    • 1) summary conviction offences,
    • 2) less serious indictable offences under section 553 of the Criminal Code and,
    • 3) indictable offences where the accused has elected to have his or her trial heard in the OCJ (excluding offences under s. 469)
  • Criminal trials at the OCJ are heard and decided only by a judge alone–there are no jury trials at this level
  • decisions from the OCJ dealing with indictable offences may be appealed to the Ontario Court of Appeal




  • is a superior level of trial court that has jurisdiction to hear any indictable offences
  • typically hears only the most serious criminal offences
  • Cases may be heard before a judge alone or judge and jury
  • all criminal trials that are heard before a judge and jury take place at the SCJ
  • decisions from the OCJ dealing with a summary conviction offences may be appealed to the Superior Court of Justice
  • decisions from the SCJ dealing with indictable offences may be appealed to the Ontario Court of Appeal



Note to readers: This page is solely for informational purposes and should not be considered legal advice. In order to ensure the protection of your rights and interests, please consult a criminal defence lawyer prior to acting or relying upon any information.



If you or someone you care about has been charged, it is in your best interests to speak directly to a Toronto criminal lawyer. Call Farjoud Law at (647) 606-6776 to speak with a criminal lawyer to discuss your matter. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Farjoud Law is located at 4950 Yonge Street, Suite 2200 in the neighbourhood of North York in Toronto, Ontario. Click here for directions to the office
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