Court Support Overview
Legal Advice and Representation
Everyone has the right to have a lawyer represent them in court. If someone cannot afford a lawyer, they may be eligible for legal aid. Visit Legal Assistance to find out how to get a lawyer and learn more about legal services and resources.
Court Support for Victims
There are resources available to support victims of crime. A victim service worker helps victims understand what is happening during the court proceedings and provides support throughout the court process. They will let victims know what to expect and can also attend court with victims. Contact a victim service worker by calling VictimLinkBC.
Testimonial accommodations are special steps taken to support victims or other witnesses of crime during their testimony. An accused has the right to see and hear the evidence of their accusers and anyone testifying against them. But testifying may be very upsetting and frightening for some, especially children, youths or vulnerable witnesses. In that case, Crown counsel or a witness may make a request to the judge for testimonial accommodations.
The Criminal Code provides that witnesses may request, and in specific circumstances may be allowed to have, the following testimonial accommodations when they testify:
- A support person of their choice nearby
- Testifying from a room other than the courtroom
- Testifying from behind a screen or other device
- If the accused doesn’t have his or her own lawyer, another lawyer may be appointed to ask a witness questions
- The exclusion of the public
- The non-disclosure of a witness’ identity
- An order to protect the security of a witness
Applications for these accommodations can be made by Crown counsel or the witness. Please contact your Crown counsel office or a victim service worker for more information about testimonial accommodations.
For more information about court support available to victims and witnesses please visit the Victimsinfo.ca website, call VictimLinkBC to speak with a victim service worker, or explore this site further.
A victim service worker can orient you to court and provide support during the court case. Contact VictimLinkBC for more information.
- Language Interpreter - If English is not a person's first language and they need help understanding it, they can request a court interpreter to interpret what is said at the trial by the witnesses, judge, lawyers and others. Often, the interpreter will sit beside the person, listen and interpret at the same time. Sometimes, the interpretation will be done with a microphone and a headset. Court interpreters have to be approved by the court.
- Visual Interpreter - If a person is deaf or hard of hearing, they can request a sign language, deaf or real-time captioner interpreter.
Special Needs Requests
A person can make a request for special assistance, such as wheelchair access, by contacting your lawyer, the court registry, courthouse sheriff or victim services.
For more information, visit: