The Right to Counsel is a phrase frequently thrown around in news articles or even casual conversation in Canada, but do you really know what it means for you?

Right to Counsel Definition

The Right to Counsel is another term for your right to have an attorney or a lawyer upon detention or arrest as stated under Section 10 of the Canadian Charter of Rights. Sections 10(a) and 10(b) states that upon arrest or detention, you have the right to be informed why you’re being arrested and/or detained and that you have the right to hire and instruct a lawyer immediately and also be informed that you have this right.

The above is why a police officer will usually say something like, “part of my duty is to inform you that you have the right to hire and instruct a lawyer immediately” when arresting or detaining someone.

Hiring a Lawyer

When you are arrested or detained, the officers are obliged by law to let you speak to your lawyer, try to contact your lawyer for you, or locate your lawyer’s information so that you can communicate with your counsel. A Legal Aide Duty Counsel Lawyer will be an option provided for you if you don’t know any lawyers.

Know that any conversation you have with your lawyer is private and confidential. You may ask officers to leave or give you the room when speaking with your attorney.

Exercise Your Right to Counsel

Your Right to Counsel is important because speaking to a lawyer will help you protect your interests as well as make sure that further actions you take are a result of conscious decision-making.

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