Challenges for Cause

Challenges for Cause

What is Challenges for Cause and what are the Grounds to Make a Challenge?

Under Canadian law, the constitution grants you the right to a trial by a jury of your peers if you are accused of a crime punishable by imprisonment of more than 5 years. You can also be tried by a jury for an indictable offence, even one punishable by less than 5 years.

The accused generally gets to elect if the trial will proceed by a judge and a jury or by a judge alone. However, for murder, intimidating Parliament, sedition, piracy, inciting to mutiny, treason, and other severe criminal offences, trial by a jury is mandatory unless the prosecution agrees otherwise.

What is Challenge for Cause?

As the accused, you have a right to request the judge to remove one of the jurors you feel will be unfair due to some sort of prejudice. The prosecutor also has the same right. Under section 638(1)(b) of the Criminal Code, the law states that “a party may challenge a juror “for cause”, alleging that the juror may not be indifferent.” This is called Challenge for Cause. Unlike with pre-emptory challenge, a Challenge for Cause is not a right and it is up to the judge to make the ultimate decision.

Grounds for Challenge for Cause

A challenge can be directed to all potential jurors or to individual jurors. Under Section 638.(1) of the Criminal Code, the accused or the prosecutor is entitled to make a challenge for cause on these grounds:

  • The juror has been convicted of an offense punishable by death or a sentence longer than 1 year
  • There must be sufficient grounds to prove that there is widespread bias in the community and the juror is unable to set aside this bias, even with trial safeguards, to deliver an impartial decision
  • The juror is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (is an alien)
  • There is no name of the juror on the panel (unless the court is satisfied the mis-description or misnomer still sufficiently designates the juror)
  • The juror is unable to discharge his/her duties even with the aids provided under section 627 of the Criminal Code such as interpretative, personal, and technical support
  • The juror does not speak French or English

Why Hire a Pro to Challenge for Cause

You can represent yourself in a Canadian trial, but one of the reasons you should hire a lawyer is to challenge for cause.

At Costa Law Firm, we will ensure there is an evidentiary foundation to the challenge for cause claims we put forward. Judges have wide discretion to supervise challenge for claim and they must be really convinced before they rule in your favour.

We will question the juror to establish the claim. This should be done by a professional because the law states that the questioning should be “relevant, succinct and fair” and one should not invade the “privacy of prospective jurors in an attempt to probe personal feelings, opinions, and beliefs.” We ensure our questions are within the bounds of a legitimate inquiry.

Wondering if you can make a challenge for cause? Call us today on 416-535-6329 for a free 20 minutes consultation.

Evelyn Burnette
Evelyn Burnette
06:08 12 Mar 18
We have a family business and one day we found ourselves in a legal situation in which we felt completely overwhelmed and helpless. We quickly realized there’s a whole different world out there that we know nothing about. Reached out to David and he quickly wrapped himself around our case. We know he was working around the clock. In a matter of days, we had a solid argument. He is sharp, candid and a true professional. Not sure how an attorney can help a client ANY better. Absolutely no hesitation recommending him.
Julia Austerlitz
Julia Austerlitz
00:15 10 Mar 18
When I was looking for a divorce lawyer, the most important thing to me was finding someone who would be easy to communicate with. I was anticipating a nasty custody battle and the last thing I wanted was a lawyer who was hard to get a hold of or who didn’t make me feel like my case was a priority. David Costa and Robin Mann were exactly what I was looking for. They responded quickly to all of my emails, took all of my concerns very seriously and above all, is very knowledgeable about family law. This was such a difficult phase of my life and they helped me to get through to the end of it with the best possible outcome. I highly recommend this law firm.
Ben Valencia
Ben Valencia
12:47 09 Mar 18
Mr. Costa and his wonderful assistant couldn't have been anymore professional. It's unfortunate I had to meet them under these circumstances but I wouldn't have chosen anyone different to represent me if I could. They’ve always kept me up to date on things I needed to get done and both were available when I had questions. They are first class in my book.
Daniel Hardison
Daniel Hardison
06:56 09 Mar 18
Have utilized David's services several times over the last five years. He always is quick to respond (even when he was on vacation), knows the real estate business inside out. His expertise always gives me the confidence the deal is done right.
Kate Miller
Kate Miller
20:08 13 Dec 17
Costa Law were a tremendous help in solving my legal issues. David and his team were professional, efficient, thorough and compassionate. Everyone involved capably assisted me in understanding the issues and the possible outcomes. I could not be happier with the results and would encourage anyone needing legal help to contact them. Best law group in the town. Thanks to everyone at Costa Law!!!
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