Fitness to Stand Trial

Fairness First and Foremost


Of all the issues that bring mental health practitioners and the criminal courts together, fitness to stand trial is by far the most common. In Canada, thousands of fitness assessments, psychiatric reports, fitness hearings, and verdicts of either “fit” or “unfit” to stand trial are rendered every year. For such a common event, one would be inclined to think that, for the most part, the law is uncontroversial; that most of the issues have been settled. Fitness to Stand Trial lays out the law as it is seemingly settled, and discusses several areas where the law is much less settled. What exactly is required of the accused in terms of their ability to think rationally? Does one need to be “fit to stand trial” in order to proceed with a bail hearing? Or, post-verdict, with sentencing? Can an otherwise unfit accused become “fit enough” with the assistance of counsel? Does the test for unfit to stand trial contain a prospective element? These and many other less-than-clear aspects of the fitness rules are explored fully in this new volume.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: A Brief History of the Fitness Rules
Chapter 2: “Unfit to Stand Trial”: The Test
Chapter 3: When the Issue of Fitness May Arise
Chapter 4: Psychiatric Aspects of Fitness
Chapter 5: Assessing Fitness to Stand Trial
Chapter 6: Trial of the Issue of Fitness
Chapter 7: Upon a Verdict of Unfit
Chapter 8: Self-Representation: Fitness and Difficult Accused
Chapter 9: Fitness in the United Kingdom and the United States
Table of Cases
About the Authors

Of interest...