effective assistance of counsel

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An accused who is represented by counsel has the right to "effective assistance of counsel" as an aspect of sections 7 and 11(d) of the Charter (R. v. G.D.B., [2000] 1 S.C.R. 520). The purpose of this right is to ensure the reliability and fairness of the adversarial process. A defence lawyer provides "effective assistance of counsel" when he or she exercises reasonable, professional and ethical judgment in conducting an accused’s defence. In R. v. G.D.B., the Supreme Court of Canada held that an accused who appeals a conviction on the basis that he or she did not receive effective assistance of counsel must establish three things: (i) the factual foundation of the claim; (ii) that in all of the circumstances trial counsel’s acts or omissions fell below the standard expected of a reasonably competent lawyer (the “performance” component); and (iii) that trial counsel’s conduct caused a miscarriage of justice by undermining either the fairness of the trial or the reliability of the verdict (the “prejudice” component). This test is often referred to as the "Strickland" test because it was adopted from the United States Supreme Court decision in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984).  



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This Charter of Rights Law effective assistance of counsel page is for expression by students of law and forensic science in understanding and peer reviewing important Charter of Rights Law: effective assistance of counsel concepts, words, issues, and ideas. This site is not intended to provide Charter of Rights legal advice to the public. Members of the public with Charter of Rights law questions should consult and retain a Charter of Rights lawyer or attorney for proper legal advice. Because this effective assistance of counsel information comes from many sources who may not be Charter of Rights law lawyers or attorneys and because this site does NOT contain solicitor-to-client personalized advice it would be unsafe to rely upon this effective assistance of counsel information. This database was developed by Stephen R. Biss, Barrister & Solicitor, who practices law in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.


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