The Strands of Criminal and Civil Cases

Many cases have different legal strands weaving through them. Recognizing those strands and marshalling the facts and law around them is important to the structure/integrity of a given case.

A Criminal lawyer may have many strands to worry about. There could be forensic evidence strands, hearsay issues, disclosure matters, bad character issues, similar fact evidence strands, identification issues, immigration threads Charter issues, party liability matters and so on.

A Civil lawyer also will have to be concerned in cases about multi-strands. There could be pleadings issues, discovery issues, constructive trust/fiduciary principles, and there is always the concern with limitation periods.

Regardless of whether the case is Criminal or Civil, there is one common strand: issue identification. Each strand of the case must be understood and preparation will involve an understanding of all strands to best preserve the structure of a case for trial or to even set up a favourable settlement outcome. Miss an important strand, and the structure of the case weakens. Civil and especially Criminal Law requires sound understanding of evidentiary law and the many strands that fall within this area. The latter area also in Canada requires a sound understanding of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms law. So dealing with a case and marshalling the law on 2 strands is not enough if a material third or fourth strand is not dealt with. Your legal case /building may be propped up in litigation for a while on the 2 strands you are focused on, but at some point the building can come crushing down with it’s weakened structure.

William Poulos, Barrister
*This blog is not a substitute for legal advice. Should you require legal advice, a lawyer should be consulted to advise on the specific circumstances of your case.

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