Including Criminal Code, Highway Traffic, Income Tax, and Regulatory Offences

Lisa's Law Swag


Pretty excited to have had my logo t-shirts locally designed and provided. Just a happy fluke that they matched my drum hobby.

Canadian Criminal Procedure - Infographic

I went off brand with the look, but the content is dead on with essential stages of a criminal case presented simply, and it includes expected timelines for each stage of your case.

"It's amazing! It's so full of life and colour - you don't expect a Chart of Criminal Procedure to be anything but dull." 

"It is adorable." 

"I particularly liked the chart which conveys some important info about the process and time frames in a simple and easy to read format."

Client Trauma and Health

I have successfully handled thousands of Ottawa cases over 30 years, mostly in the area of criminal law or matters that were related to criminal law, both as defence counsel and as a prosecutor. During that time there have been many changes to the laws and legal procedures, but the principles of providing a positive client experience have remained the same. As part of that, I create helpful resources for clients such as a paper on Client Trauma and Health. I describe it, and give instructions on how to order it, below.
Having a legal problem can be very traumatic, especially with the current long court delays and increasingly complex legal arguments.
'This is of great concern, for sure. Thank you for acknowledging this point!!!'
'Excellent and very thorough in terms of covering the needs of such persons.'
'It’s great of you to offer these additional services, and to be sensitive to these people and their trauma.'
'Really well written! Easy, engaging read.'
'I love that you recognize and support all the various emotions one would go through in such instances. Your help in that way is above and beyond.'
Based on my observation of my own clients, it is common for clients to experience a variety of reactions when going through the nightmare that the legal system can be.

How to Know if You Need a Lawyer

Here are seven ways to help you figure out if it's time to call a lawyer:

Private Victim/Witness Assistance Program in Ottawa

*this article was updated October 7, 2023
I defend people who are charged with offences. I also represent victims and witnesses who want someone with my background on their side. You can learn more about my background at 'Lisa's Message' by clicking here. Like my defence representation, this is a private service - it is not associated with government at all. I offer it as an alternative to, or in addition to, the various government or government-funded agencies that provide similar services. My program is different in these respects: 
1. No conflict of interest.
You may feel that your interests are in opposition to government or government-funded agencies. Since I am a private lawyer whom you retain (hire) directly, there is no conflict of interest.

2. Solicitor-client privilege to discuss evidence.
Whereas some other agencies or organizations have a policy to not discuss the evidence of your case, we will discuss it in detail if you like. We can do that because our discussions are solicitor-client privileged.

Client Kit - A service feature

One of the outstanding features of my practise is the level of traditional client service I strive to provide. This includes access to me on my cell phone seven days a week, as many in-person or telephone meetings as you like, timely updates to you about your file, and no requirements for you to learn new software to interact with me.

The Client Kit is one of the service features I offer and it is available to all new clients. Here is a review:

Your Client Kit is catchy, acute, cusped, acicular prickly keen and craggy!

It contains information such as

  • how to reach me
  • how to prepare for our meetings 
  • a discussion of fees 
  • the concepts of confidentiality and solicitor-client privilege 
  • explanations of legal terminology you may encounter 
  • links to other valuable resources I have created 
  • a worksheet, checklist, and guide I have created for you that will help for sure!

Tips for Accused People - Appearing in the Ontario Court of Justice for Your Criminal Trial

This 2-page PDF covers how to dress, where to sit, when to stand, what to bring, what not to bring, what to call the judge and your lawyer, what not to do, and other good-to-know practicalities that apply in many courts. 

        "Thank you so much for this great resource."

        "This is great."

A booklet: Criminal Law by Defence Counsel (and former Crown Prosecutor)

Criminal Law by Defence Counsel (and former Crown Prosecutor) is based on some of my most popular articles from legal blogs and newsletters I wrote for over 13 years. It is an insider's view from my position as defense counsel for over 30 years, and also as crown prosecutor for 2 years. This is the 2023 version. Volume 1 is 22 pages long. Volume 2 is 16 pages. They cover topics such as: 

  • how family law and criminal law intersect (Vol 1)

  • ways to find yourself unwittingly in trouble with the laws in Canada
    (Vol 1)

  • how to respond to situations where you have been accused of  transgressions (Vol 1)

  • when tax avoidance becomes tax evasion and ends up in criminal court
    (Vol 1)

  • signs to watch out for when you are being audited by the Canada Revenue Agency (Vol 1)

  • how to use hearsay evidence to win your court case (Vol 1)

  • details on how to negotiate an amazing plea bargain that will continue to help you for the rest of your life/how not to mess up negotiating a plea bargain (Vol 1)

  • when it is illegal for the police to pull you over when you are driving (Vol 1)

  • how to use legal jargon correctly (Vol 1)

  • racial profiling defined and why it is a brain twister for judges (Vol 2)

  • arrested and in custody - tips if it's you (Vol 2)
  • defamation (Vol 2)
  • eight ways to win a criminal case (Vol 2)
  • four essentials to consider when charged with a criminal offence (Vol 2)
  • mediation (Vol 2)
  • common pitfalls of representing yourself (Vol 2)
  • humiliation and the criminal law (Vol 2)
  • witnesses in criminal courts (Vol 2)
  • religious communications privilege (Vol 2)

2023 Legal Services Buyer's Guide, by Lisa Christian

One of the most common questions prospective clients ask is 'what is your hourly rate?' This Guide provides a more sophisticated method to hire a lawyer, including finding the lawyer, your goals at the first interview, learning about fee structures and retainer agreements, how not to get fired by your lawyer after all that, and getting second opinions. Information is packed into 13 PDF pages that you can use to avoid wasting your time and money, or prejudicing your legal case.

Boomers and the Law

My clients are usually older. Most are Boomers, as am I, and some are Gen X.

You may like to deal with people you can relate to in specific ways, and appreciate the experience a mature lawyer brings to your file.

As we age, we may have special challenges that can land us in hot water with the law. This applies even to people who have so far lived long lives without attracting any criminal record.

Typical issues that lead to criminal or quasi-criminal charges (such as traffic or tax offences) include the following:

Legal Fees - Let's talk about them!

If you are like me, you look for transparency, fairness, and value when you are paying for a service. Below are some highlights about how I bill which help to provide those qualities. Feel free to contact me for a quote for your particular matter at 613.203.4874.

Solicitor-Client Privilege

 *this article was updated September 18, 2023

The point of solicitor-client privilege is to allow you to speak freely with your lawyer to obtain legal advice. You want to know your communications regarding advice will not be disclosed to anyone without your consent - not even through a search warrant. Yet the concept is often misunderstood by lawyers and clients alike and it is the subject of much litigation.

Record Suspensions: A Newsletter

*this article was updated August 2, 2023

The implications and processes of record suspensions are far more complicated than they appear at first blush. Maybe you have already attempted an application - only to have abandoned it in anger and frustration. Still, a record suspension may be right for you. I can let you know and give you important tips for a successful application.

Representation by Ottawa lawyer Lisa Christian - Sample Cases

*this article was updated September 17, 2023, and is not legal advice
  • advice to victims and witnesses (I have extensive experience with victims and witnesses both as a former prosecutor and as defence counsel)
  • arrests and arrest warrants (including in-depth knowledge of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms) 
  • assault (including sexual and partner assault)
  • border-crossing issues (including for vacation travel)

Are You in Ottawa Criminal Court or Under Investigation?

If you are charged or under investigation by the government or police, you may be having some of the thoughts below. You can speak to me about your worries, and I'll let you know which of these anxieties are justified, and what I can do to get you the best possible result for your situation.

Worried about how charges will effect your family law situation, regarding child custody or support payments? I am knowledgeable in the area of family law, especially where it intersects with criminal law.

Consultation Process for Criminal (and other) Cases

* this article was updated November 13, 2023

When you book a consultation I may ask you to send me documents prior to the appointment, such as a paper you may have received from the police or court telling you of your criminal charge and next court date. Or previous correspondence you may have had with the federal authorities regarding your legal matter. Or relevant emails to which you have access. Or a copy of the government application with which you need help. I'll let you know what to consider giving me in advance if you are comfortable doing so, or to bring to the consultation.

And I may send to you my very popular Pre-Consultation Worksheet. It contains 7 key questions to set us up for an excellent consultation. (Psssst - Ask for my entire complementary Client Kit, which contains additional useful information and resources - updated for 2024!)

At our meeting, whether in person, by phone, or virtually, I will help you define your legal problem, explain the relevant procedures, offer solutions, and describe further steps you could decide to take. Already know what you want to have happen? Great! I will try to make that happen, or find an even better solution.

With over thirty years of practise, I've gained experience in many types of law. And each year I take numerous continuing education courses in various legal subjects (unbelievable how quickly the laws change!). Please go ahead and ask me your questions even if they are not criminal related - I'll let you know if I can help.

Did you know:

Referrals to Lisa Christian, Ottawa Lawyer

*this article was updated September 17, 2023

It can be awkward suggesting that your friend, family member, customer, patient, or client seek the help of a lawyer, especially if their legal issue involves criminal charges or a police investigation. But sometimes it is the right thing to do, and you will have the comfort of knowing that their legal matter will be appropriately addressed.

Making the Referral

If you know someone who could benefit from my services, this article will make it easy for you to refer them to me. Simply copy the link to this article from the address bar above, and paste it in an email to them.

Being Referred

1. All of our communications are confidential, from the first phone call or email. No one outside of my firm will know you even contacted me, unless you authorise me to tell them.

2. There are no fees for the first contact with me. If we are going forward, I will give you a fee quote for legal advice or information. Payment plans are offered for on-going services. Read more about fees by clicking here.
3. I will handle your case personally.