PLO311 - Criminal Summary Conviction Procedure

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-07-05 11:33:33.556
Last review date 2018-07-16 00:15:00.983

Subject Title
Criminal Summary Conviction Procedure

Subject Description
This subject introduces the substantive law and procedure related to offences under the Criminal Code of Canada, with the emphasis on summary conviction offences. Students review the limited role of the paralegal in the criminal court process.

Credit Status
This is a credit course applicable towards the Paralegal Certificate Program offered through the Faculty of Continuing Education and Training.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1. Identify the key provisions of relevant legislation (e.g. Criminal Code, Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, Youth Criminal Justice Act, Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice in Criminal Proceedings) 

2.  Interpret the classification of offences and appropriate trial jurisdiction.

3. Analyze and interpret the elements of an offence.

4. Identify common summary conviction offences and procedural and substantive defences to these

5. Understand the duties and obligations of the police, Crown, lawyers and paralegals in a criminal proceeding.

6.  Demonstrate an understanding of investigatory powers, for example, search and seizure, investigation and questioning of suspects

7. Identify and explain the procedures related to the arrest and compelling the attendance of the accused, and of relevant witnesses.

8 .Demonstrate a knowledge of the relevant documentation in a criminal matter, for example, information, warrant.

9. Demonstrate an understanding of judicial interim release and bail.

10. Understand and analyze the elements of a summary conviction proceeding, including laying of an information, first appearance/arraignment, disclosure, pretrial, motions, trial and appeal.

11. Show an understanding of the types of evidence presented before a summary conviction court.

12.  Explain the consequences of various plea options available to a person charged with an offence

13.  Understand and analyze the purposes and principles of sentencing and diversion.

14.  Apply the proper procedure for obtaining a record suspension.

15.  Using case studies,  apply the theoretical and procedural principles in a paralegal’s criminal law practice.

16. Understand the scope of practice for paralegals related to summary conviction matters under the Criminal Code, and as set out in By-Law No. 4 of the Law Society Act.

17. Demonstrate an attitude of professionalism, as evidenced by an ability to meet deadlines, complete assignments and perform tests and in-class assignments as scheduled.

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Apply a systematic approach to solve problems.

Use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems.

Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Show respect for diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others.

Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

All Modules One to Three Courses

It is your responsibility to ensure that program requirements and course prerequisites as outlined are met. Prerequisites are included for your academic protection. Course content and your instructor's teaching assumes that students are academically prepared and instruction will proceed accordingly. Students lacking prerequisites not only jeopardize their own ability to succeed but present unnecessary interruption. If you lack appropriate prerequisites (or advanced standing for the prerequisite course) you may be asked to withdraw or transfer to a more appropriate course with the risk of academic/financial penalty. 

Topic Outline
1. An overview of substantive criminal law including:

  • Elements of an offence
  • Inchoate offences
  • Parties to an offence
  • Some common defenses

2. An overview of the Canadian criminal justice system including analysis of:
  • Classification of offences
  • Investigatory powers of the police
  • Arrest powers
  • Jurisdiction of the court
  • Informations and indictments
  • Bail
  • Trials
  • Sentencing
  • Record suspensions

3. An introduction to summary convictions proceedings under Part XXVII of the Criminal Code of Canada, and the role of the paralegal in relation to these offences. 

Mode of Instruction
Students learn through interactive classroom lectures, discussion and group problem solving.

It is the student's responsibility to save documents, articles and notes that the instructor has provided on Blackboard or in class. Students will not be able to access Blackboard as of the last day of the student's class.

Prescribed Texts
Gulycz and Kelly, Criminal Law for Legal Professionals. Emond Montgomery. 2014. ISBN#9781552393246

Martin's AnnualCriminal Code 2016 w / cd, Student Edition. ISBN#9780888047359


Reference Material
Quigley, Tim. Procedure in Canadian Criminal Law, Latest Edition. Toronto: Carswell.

Greenspan, Rosenberg. Martin's Annual Criminal Code, Latest Student Edition.

Kelly, Mary Ann, Chapter 11, Criminal Law and Chapter 12, Criminal Procedure, in Olivo, Laurence, Introduction to Law in Canada, Toronto: Captus Press.

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation

Midterm 35%
Assignment 30%
Final Exam 35%

Materials permitted into tests and exams are at the discretion of the instructor.
Students must attain a grade of at least 50% to pass the course.

Please Note
  • Exams are evaluated on subject knowledge as well as correct language usage, organization, and mastery of the subject.

Absenteeism and Tests
  • Students should be aware that absenteeism will impact on their ability to achieve satisfactory grades.
  • If you miss a test, you must provide the reason in writing to the instructor prior to the next scheduled class. If your reason is accepted, you will be permitted to write a make-up test. Otherwise, you will be given a zero for the test. You must submit an original doctor’s certificate identifying the date, length of time of expected absence and the specific reason for your absence, or other appropriate documentation.

Academic Honesty

Students at Seneca College are expected to be honest and forthright in their academic endeavours. When students cheat on an examination, steal the words or ideas of another, or falsify their research results, it corrupts the learning process. A Seneca College degree, diploma or certificate signifies to society mastery of a set of defined learning outcomes in a designated field of study. If academic credit is obtained dishonestly, the value of every graduate's diploma in the field of study is diminished, as is the reputation of the college as a whole.

Penalties for Academic Dishonesty

The penalty for a first offence is a grade of '0' on the assignment or examination. The penalty for the second offence is expulsion for a time period determined by the Academic Honesty Committee, normally for a minimum of three terms. For further information refer to the policies section of the Seneca College student handbook, or to the following website:

Prior Learning Assessment
Please be advised that, in accordance with current Law Society of Ontario Paralegal Education Program Accreditation Policy guidelines (September, 2017, ss. 2.15 and 3.8), PLA for prior work experience is no longer permitted in any of the compulsory legal courses in the certificate program, including the field placement. All students, regardless of prior work-related training must fulfil the requirements of all components of the Paralegal Program.

Approved by: Sandra Noble