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3 Things to Know About Working for a Crown Attorney if You Want to Become a Legal Office Administrator

April 3, 2019

become a legal office administrator

Crown Attorneys (also called Crown Counsel or Crown Prosecutors) are the lawyers who prosecute criminal cases in Canada’s legal system. Crown Attorneys are representatives of the state (which is symbolized by the “Crown” in their title) and they are responsible for acting in the public interest.

If you’re thinking about a career as a legal office administrator, working for a Crown Attorney offers a career path that is both dynamic and gives you an close-up look at the criminal justice system. Here are three important things you should know about working for a Crown Attorney.

1. Become a Legal Administrator for a Crown Attorney and You’ll See Criminal Law in Action

Crown Attorneys primarily work in criminal law and are responsible for prosecuting the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, and provincial statutes. The criminal laws that Crown Attorneys prosecute range from less serious summary conviction offences, such as trespassing, to much more serious indictable offences, such as homicide and drug trafficking.

That means a legal office administration career with a Crown Attorney gives you a unique opportunity to see how Canada’s criminal justice system works behind the scenes. Crown Attorneys also tend to spend more time in court than any other type of lawyer. So if you become a legal office administrator for a Crown Attorney, you’ll have a much higher chance of seeing the litigation side of the law in action.

Crown Attorneys tend to spend more time in courtrooms than any other type of lawyer

Crown Attorneys tend to spend more time in courtrooms than any other type of lawyer

2. Crown Attorneys Are the Ones Who Decide Whether to Prosecute Cases

In Canada’s legal system, it is up to the Crown Attorney to decide whether or not to lay charges and attempt to prosecute a case. Additionally, Canada has a large number of offences called “hybrid offences.” These are crimes that can be tried as either summary conviction offences or as indictable offences. It is up to the Crown Attorney to decide how to prosecute hybrid offences. This decision is usually based on the defendant’s criminal record since indictable offences are usually subject to longer prison sentences and higher fines.

While most Crown Attorneys work for the Attorney General of each province’s government, the decision about prosecuting a case is meant to be free of political influence. This means that the Attorney General—who is an elected politician—has little say over the Crown’s decision to prosecute, despite the Crown working directly for the Attorney General.

3. Crown Attorneys Do a Lot More Than Just Argue Criminal Cases

While prosecuting criminal cases is probably the most important part of a Crown Attorney’s job, it isn’t the only one. Crown Attorneys also frequently work with the police, for example, where they may provide legal advice for the police force’s investigation. They also may negotiate with the defence counsel about plea negotiations and they may make recommendations to a judge or justice about what penalty a defendant should face if convicted of a crime.

Crown Attorneys may negotiate plea deals with the defence lawyer of the accused

Crown Attorneys may negotiate plea deals with the defence lawyer of the accused

The diversity of the work means that legal office administrator careers spent working for Crown Attorneys offer the chance to experience many different aspects of the law. In fact, even the Crown Attorney’s workplace can be pretty unusual. For example, while some Crown Attorneys can be found arguing cases in large courthouses, others fly into remote settlements where temporary courtrooms are set up in schools, churches, or gymnasiums.

Are you ready for a new career?

Contact NAHB to learn more about our legal office administration courses.

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