Defence counsel

Counsel for the defence assists persons who have been charged or accused in a criminal case.  In most cases, the accused is entitled to his defence being paid at the public expense.

The person charged or accused can choose their own defence counsel. If he has no one in mind, the court will appoint a defence counsel, usually a lawyer. But the accused can also choose defence counsel who is not a lawyer. In such instances, the court has to approve their choice.

Protecting the client’s legal rights

The defence counsel’s role is to protect their client's interests in the case. He will counsel the client, and has a duty of confidentiality regarding everything he learns from the client. If the client confesses to the defence counsel or otherwise admits his guilt, it can be difficult for the defence counsel to represent his client's interests. The defence counsel can advise his client to confess or to switch counsel.

Court defence counsel

All courts have permanent defence counsel attached. They are appointed in criminal cases in which the accused does not have his own lawyer. See list of court defence counsel for all courts (PDF)


Consent for prison sentence form (several languages)