Jury Charge Review

Jury trials provide particular challenges for lawyers. As the trial nears its conclusion, lawyers are often asked to begin considering the judge’s proposed jury charge at the same time as they are deciding upon final witnesses and prepping their closing argument to the jury.

There is never enough time to carefully analyze the proposed jury charge and ensure that it is fair to the client. That’s why at Sankoff Criminal Law, we have developed a new service reviewing jury charges for lawyers. We can review jury charges on short notice and provide detailed advice, including legal authorities, to help you make submissions to the trial judge about the type of charge that is needed.

Lead counsel at Sankoff Criminal Law, Peter Sankoff, is one of Canada’s leading experts on criminal evidence. Peter has a special focus on complex criminal appeals. Resultantly, he is keenly aware of the type of errors that can and do commonly occur when addressing the jury.

Prices for a jury charge start at $1200, and legal aid rates are accepted on occasion. The repeated use of this new service by several lawyers across Canada is a testament to its value. To learn more about this service or our other consultation services for lawyers, please contact us.


I highly recommend Sankoff Law’s jury charge review service. As trial lawyers know, the jury charge is the last, and often the most important, message the jury hears before rendering a verdict. It is critical that your client’s theory of the defence is properly communicated, that the summation of the evidence is fair, and that the instructions on the relevant offences are dealt with appropriately. 

Peter has his fingers on the pulse of the most recent case law on issues of evidence and substantive criminal law, and can hone and refine your jury charge to give your client the best possible chance of success. Even if you’re a lawyer who keeps up to speed on the law, you can’t beat the knowledge base that Peter  possesses. Having had Peter consult me on two jury charges already, I can tell you that his insights and recommendations are well worth it.”

     –William J. Van Engen, Bottos Law Group, Edmonton

I recently had the opportunity to use Peter’s services for a jury trial for sexual offences and other less serious charges. After I provided the draft jury instructions to him, Peter provided detailed commentary. It was helpful to have a second perspective from another defence lawyer, and I was able to include many of his suggested changes verbatim in my response to the Justice. The Justice agreed to most of these proposed changes.

I found Peter to be very responsive time-wise, and he consulted with me by phone and Zoom outside of normal office hours. His rates were very reasonable. My client was ultimately acquitted of the sexual offences.

     –Kelsey Norton, Queck Law, Edmonton

Related Publications

The Law of Witnesses and Evidence in Canada

In The Law of Witnesses and Evidence in Canada, Lead Counsel at Sankoff Criminal Law, Peter Sankoff, provides expert analysis of evidentiary issues as they arise in legal proceedings. The book covers many questions that arise daily in criminal proceedings, including those related to hearsay, competence, compellability, privilege, examination, and cross-examination.


Criminal Law

In the 5th Edition of Criminal Law, Peter Sankoff co-authors a critical examination of the criminal law in Canada. Cited by the Supreme Court of Canada and appellate courts across the country, this book has proven to be an essential resource for Crown and defence counsel alike. The book explores numerous trial-related topics, including an analysis of Criminal Code offences and commonly raised defences.