Justice on Screen: Truth or Fiction?

Closed-captions available

Do legal series accurately reflect the reality of criminal trials? Or do they exaggerate for the sake of entertainment? Jennifer Quaid, a specialist in Canadian criminal law, reviews excerpts from popular series to demystify what’s real and what’s not.

According to a Statistics Canada study, lack of awareness of the role of the courts in Canada has increased significantly, rising from 55% in 2018 to 64% in 2021. Furthermore, Quebec’s Access to Justice Index shows that Canadians rate their level of legal knowledge at just 5.47 out of 10.

At the same time, courtroom series such as Indéfendable, Suits, and Better Call Saul are becoming increasingly popular, introducing viewers to Canadian and American courts and tribunals.

Do these series fuel misconceptions about the legal system? Students from the University of Ottawa’s Civil Law Section, along with Me Quaid, explore examples from popular TV shows that depict scenes of evidence tampering, witness objections, verdicts, and the right to silence.

This visual advocacy video was produced by law students Mathis Larochelle, Capucine Chalencon, Marc-Alexandre Bureau and Julian Pratte Giacomino as part of the Visual Advocacy/Law and Film course offered at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, Civil Law Section.

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