Glossary of terms

bail hearing

A bail hearing is when the person charged with a crime goes to court after they have been arrested. At court, they ask a judge or justice of the peace to decide whether the police can continue to keep them in jail, or whether they must let you go.

The judge might give you "conditions" that you must follow if they let you go. For example, the court might order them to stay away from their partner.

Children's Aid Society

A Children's Aid Society (CAS) is a government agency that has a legal duty to make sure that children are protected from harm. In some places in Ontario, these agencies are called Child and Family Services.

cross examination

Cross-examination is when one party, or their lawyer if they have one, questions the other party's witnesses. The purpose of cross-examination is to test how true and reliable a witness' answers are.

family violence

Family violence refers to the many different forms of abuse, neglect, or harm that an adult or child may experience in their close, personal relationships. It is also called domestic violence or partner abuse when one partner abuses the other partner.

non-removal order

A non-removal order is an order a court makes to prevent one or both parents from taking their child out of a specified area, for example, the country or province.

Office of the Children’s Lawyer

The Office of the Children's Lawyer (OCL) is the government-funded office that represents children under the age of 18 in some court cases.

They are not automatically involved in all custody and access court cases. The OCL has to agree to accept your case. The OCL has clinicians and lawyers across Ontario. OCL clinicians, who are usually social workers, prepare custody and access reports about a child’s needs, views, and wishes. OCL lawyers represent children in court.

peace bond

A peace bond is a type of court order that is a signed promise, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour. It can include conditions. For example, your partner can promise not contact you or your children.


A sentence is the punishment that a criminal court gives to a person who is found guilty of a crime.

supervised access

Supervised access is a kind of access where someone else watches when a parent visits with their child. This might be another relative like the child's grandparent or uncle, or it might be someone from an agency like the Children's Aid Society. The purpose of supervised access is usually to make sure the child is safe.

supervised access exchanges

A supervised access exchange is when someone watches a parent pick up or drop off the child, but does not watch the access visit. Its purpose is usually to reduce conflict between the parents, or to protect one parent from being abused by the other parent.