Programs that hold hearings and issue decisions regarding matters of mental health capacity, health care consent, civil (involuntary) committal, substitute decision making, or personal health information. Depending on the jurisdiction, the review and decision process can be made through an administrative tribunal or a court of law.
Programs that provide support for people who have been charged with an offence by having a staff member or volunteer attend with them when they appear in court.
Programs that provide information for people who will be appearing in court regarding court procedures and what they can expect in their hearings. Included may be information for people who have been charged with an offense, victims of or witnesses to crimes called to testify in court, people involved in civil litigation cases, people representing themselves in court and others involved in legal proceedings. Also included are orientation programs for people involved in mediation, arbitration or other processes for resolving disputes.
Offices that are responsible for collecting fines that are assessed when an individual commits an act that constitutes a civil infraction and receives a citation or is found to be guilty on a summary charge or indictable offence and is ordered by the court to pay a fine, fee and/or other monetary penalties. These offices may also handle requests for fine deferments or installment plans.
Individuals appointed by the court to represent, in a particular lawsuit, the interests of minors, people judged to be incompetent or people unborn or unascertained who may have a future interest in the property involved in the litigation. These special guardians may also serve as advocates for dependent children pending settlement of their cases in dependency court.
Programs, often offered by public guardianship/conservatorship organizations, that conduct court-requested investigations in situations where a guardianship or conservatorship petition has been filed and report their findings and recommendations to the court. In the case of child guardianships, investigators review and report on the qualifications of the people who are applying to be appointed as guardians. In the case of adult guardianships or conservatorships, investigators gather information from relevant persons in the individual's social network including family members, doctors, friends, neighbours, and others with knowledge of the person's needs and capabilities, and produce a written report with a recommendation for or against the petition which is considered by the judge in reaching a decision. Guardianships and conservatorships differ widely among jurisdictions. Guardianships pertain to children but may also address the needs of adults found to be incompetent by the court. In both cases, guardianships may be of the person or the person's estate. Conservatorships, where they exist, may be involuntary and address the needs of adults found to be incompetent by the court or voluntary addressing the wishes of adults who are competent but physically infirm; and may pertain to the person and/or the person's estate, in the latter case, depending on the conservatee's wishes. In some provinces, conservatorships apply only to an individual's property while guardianships address responsibility for the person.
Programs that approve applications for the release of individuals who have been indicted for a crime prior to their trial date and allow them to return to their homes while awaiting their scheduled appearance in court. Options include release on the individual's own recognizance, release on non-financial conditions that require monitoring the defendant in the community, setting bail in the form of property, cash, or surety that the defendant must post in order to be released or ordering the defendant retained in confinement without bail (which occurs when the individual is considered a flight risk or a danger to the community).
Programs that officially deliver to individuals named in process papers, to their homes or to their legal agents, summons, subpoenas, writs, complaints and other papers that are used by the court to acquire or exercise its jurisdiction over individuals or specific properties.
Programs that are part of the provincial or federal judicial system that are responsible for prosecuting, in the name of the government, individuals who have been accused of an offence.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.