Book Review: Handling Provincial Offence Cases in Ontario 2012

Paralegal Tracey Gauley

Paralegal Tracey Gauley

Paralegal SCOPE Magazine contributor Tracey Gauley, paralegal, reviews Handling Provincial Offence Cases in Ontario 2012, by John Pearson Allen and Hon. Justice Rick Libman.

The Provincial Offences Act (POA) helps to keep residents and visitors to Ontario safe and healthy.

Enforcement of its provisions allows us to live our daily lives secure in the knowledge that the transportation we take, the doctors we visit, the grocers and restaurants that provide our food — to name a few sectors — are all regulated for our well-being.

POA presents a vast, diverse, broad field; a case can send a licensee scrambling to untangle its nuances. Where to turn for clear guidance? Handling Provincial Offence Cases in Ontario 2012 is a quick-reference, plain-English, practical guide, written by subject experts, leading licensees to the correct information with little effort.

Handling Provincial Offence Cases paves an uncomplicated path to understanding how to handle a POA case. It is useful for licensees, prosecutors, students and judges alike.

Concise and Useful Information

The expertise of the two authors is evident. Professors Allen and Libman richly support the text with current case law, covering each step — from Notice through to Appeal. The text defines regulatory offences, clarifies responsibilities of the parties, and outlines different procedural streams that determine how offences are prosecuted. The early chapters dissect the Act, explaining courtroom culture and how a POA matter flows.

Chapters are divided into sections and subsections. The index and a quick-reference tool are handy; these allow readers to pinpoint necessary information, down to the paragraph.

Soft-covered and portable, with reader-friendly font sizes and effective design details, the book encourages ready comprehension. The step-by-step trial and sentencing process sections are bolstered by appendixes that save time.

The current edition includes a new section on “Electronic Documents and Remote Meetings” (Appendix A1). This allows readers to stay current with updated Ontario Regulations. The same applies to the “Forms” sections (Appendix A1 and C). These are valuable in directing readers to correct forms for specific purposes. Forms flow sequentially, from Form 8, “Notice of Intention to Appear,” to “Preparation for Trial” forms, “Sentencing” forms, and forms related to “Appeals.”

Regulations and Checklists

Appendix B, “Regulations Under the Courts of Justice Act,” provides short answers to basic questions, such as computation of time and how the regulations define “holidays.” Another time-saver is Appendix D, which lists all POA courts in Ontario.

The “Checklists” chapter functions as a “launch pad” or starting point on how to defend a POA charge. It guides the reader to key areas, including the client’s account of facts, examples of defences and strategies, evidentiary issues, and Charter issues. It includes defences that hinge on whether an offence is one of strict or absolute liability.

Chapters 10 and 11 are comprehensive explanations of case progression, including first appearance, witnesses, adjournments, entering pleas, rules on appearing or not appearing in court, included offences, publication bans, evidence, Charter issues, trial strategies, and advice for effective persuasion. Sentences, probation, fines and costs are also covered, and are supported with case law.

Chapter 12 provides meticulous detail on Appeals. It answers issues related to Parts I, II and III offences, including case law, case summaries and tips for mounting an appeal.

I highly recommend Handling Provincial Offence Cases in Ontario 2012. It has become a “staple” in my library.


  1. Tracey Gauley · ·

    Thanks Ben! I am currently working on 2 other book reviews but when I finish, I will turn to “The Law of Traffic Offences” as you recommend. Glad you enjoyed the book as much as I did. Heh, YOU should do the review too! We can both do it.

  2. Handling Provincial Offence Cases in Ontario 2012 is a stable in my law library. I recommend it as a must read for new Paralegals and a very good Procedures Reference Book for the more experienced practising POA, HTA & summary Conviction matters. Nice book review Tracey.
    Perhaps next you could review: The Law of Traffic Offences, 3rd Ed. by Scott Huthison, David Ross & Phil Downes. I can describe it as being a Trial Preparation Reference Book for the more popular offences in POA.

  3. Tracey Gauley · ·

    I also will be purchasing the next “Handling” book by John Allen & Justice Libman. It is INVALUABLE and in PLAIN LANGUAGE. I liked it so much that I bought “Libman on Regulatory Offences in Ontario” as well. It is used heavily in our offices at work and I use it for all legal research. Between the 2 books, I have all caselaw and summaries at my finger-tips. And I mean ALL because His Honour includes so many ‘like’ cases for each case he annotates! Excellent, excellent writing from a senior judge. I cannot say enough positive things. Besides; having the 2 books makes me look like a genius at work because when I am asked to look something up or give legal opinion, I go directly there and an hour later I am back with a Memorandum of Law! The authors did all the work for us!

  4. Thanks, Thinh. Perhaps later, you can let Paralegal SCOPE readers know about the updated sections, and what you think of the book overall.

  5. Thanks for the review. I will buy the 2013 edition that is scheduled to come out end of June (see link to Carswell for pre-order info:

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