Criminal Defence Essentials (CDE) is a company that provides the best learning resources for criminal defence lawyers. Its core is our cutting-edge seminar series. Seminars are led by Peter Sankoff and a host of the country’s leading experts on criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence and sentencing. Our Seminars are topical and practical, geared towards helping lawyers navigate issues that arise in before trial and in the courtroom.
In addition, Criminal Defence Essentials also offers bonus materials to subscribers, like Case Alerts, Cheat Sheets, a bi-weekly netletter The Beacon and our E-Zine “The Golden Thread”.  
If you’d like to find out more about our program, please visit

Coming up next,

11am MT, Friday, 9 June 2023

The modern sentencing trilogy – Lacasse, Friesen, and Parranto – are frequently cited by Crown attorneys to justify higher sentences in drunk driving, sexual assault, and fentanyl trafficking cases. But read together, they stand for a powerful and defence-friendly sentencing proposition: a trial judge is free to impose a sentence well below the range where they feel it is proportionate to the circumstances of the offence and offender. In this seminar, Chris Rudnicki and Theresa Donkor explain how they achieved the result in R v Kelly, 2022 ONSC 5500: a conditional sentence for an offender convicted of imposing 1 kg of cocaine. In particular, they discuss the potential for social context evidence to justify unusually low sentences.


Through the publishing arm of CDE, Peter has released a first book, Professor Sankoff’s Guide to Legal Writing

Professor Sankoff's Guide to Persuasive Legal Writing

E-Book and Printed Copy (includes E-Book) available

After over two decades as a law professor and lawyer, Peter Sankoff has encountered many common writing challenges faced by nearly all writers—from students to seasoned lawyers. Peter’s years of practice have underscored the fact that strong written argument is indispensable to zealous advocacy. Writing challenges impede the effectiveness of otherwise strong arguments, causing much to be lost in translation. In Professor Sankoff’s Guide to Persuasive Legal Writing, Peter shares years of accumulated tips, tricks, and guidance to take your writing to the next level. Designed with busy students and lawyers in mind, the book is filled with practical guidance, examples, and checklists to ensure tips can be easily understood and applied by readers.

For more information, to order and to read an excerpt, please click here.