1. Contact duty counsel

What should I do if I have a last minute emergency and can't attend a court date?
This question has an answer and 3 steps

1. Contact duty counsel

If you have a personal emergency at the last minute and can’t attend court, contact the duty counsel office at your courthouse. They will tell the court about your situation and ask for a discretionary bench warrant for you.

The justice of the peace or the judge will decide whether to:

  • order a discretionary bench warrant and adjourn your matter, or
  • order a bench warrant for your arrest.

Every case is different. It's up to the court to decide if they will give you a discretionary warrant. The court will be more likely to issue a discretionary bench warrant if your absence has been explained.

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Legal Aid Ontario
Reviewed: November 20, 2017

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