What is a peace bond hearing?

Sometimes a person can be required to attend court for a peace bond hearing. This usually happens where a person has not been charged with an offence but a complaint has been made and the court requires them to respond to the complaint. The person making the complaint is called the “complainant” and the person responding to the complaint is called the “defendant.”

At a peace bond hearing, a justice of the peace will hear evidence presented by both the complainant and the defendant and decide whether or not the complainant has shown, on a “balance of probabilities” (i.e. more likely than not), that they have reasonable grounds to fear that the defendant will cause personal injury to the complainant or his/her spouse, common‑law partner or child; or, damage the complainant’s property.

If a justice of the peace is satisfied that this has been shown, they will make the defendant sign a peace bond. If the defendant refuses to sign the bond, the justice of the peace can send the defendant to jail.