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The Six-Minute Criminal Court Judge

This weekend I attended the Six-Minute Criminal Court Judge downtown at Osgoode Hall.  This is an annual program put on by LSUC and chaired by Justice Bruce Durno that features a number of different Judges of various levels of court making six-minute presentations on many different topics.  LSUC offers a number of different “six-minute” programs.  The other one of interest to criminal lawyers is the Six-Minute Criminal Defence Lawyer offered in the spring.

Presentation topics spanned both substantive areas of law and useful tips in practice.  They included such things as sentencing submissions under the YCJA (Justice Miriam Bloomenfeld), how to effectively use judicial pre-trial conferences in the Superior Court of Justice (Justice Michelle Fuerst), arguing or opposing Khan and KGB applications (Justice Mara Greene), the restraint principal in sentencing (Justice Melvyn Green), guilty plea instructions and the legal requirements to strike a guilty plea (Justice John McMahon), dealing with mandatory minimum sentences (Justice Renee Pomerance), preparing for a bail hearing (Justice Faith Finnestad), appearing before a new Judge (Justice Dianne Oleskiw), conditional sentence breach hearings (Justice Shaun Nakatsuru), credit for pre-trial custody (Justice Paul Taylor).  By the end of the program 22 Judges had spoken on various topics.

The six-minute format is definitely a nice way to learn.  It forces the presenters to be brief and get to the point (something many of the Judges joked about) and also recognizes that one can only pay attention to any speaker for a limited amount of time before losing focus.   I now have a basic overview of a number of different topics that may come up in my day to day practice (obviously when they do come up I will do more thorough research into the relevant issues).  I expect this will be very useful.

This blog post was written by lawyer Adam Goodman.  Adam is a criminal lawyer in Toronto who blogs regularly about legal subjects.  Adam can be reached at 416-477-6793 or by email at adam@aglaw.ca.