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Operational Procedures

The mandate of Innocence McGill is to address, in a systematic manner, claims of wrongful convictions in Quebec. Innocence McGill seeks to provide assistance to persons claiming to have been wrongfully convicted of serious crimes in Quebec.

Screening Process

New applications for assistance are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and must meet certain criteria in order to be accepted. Each file is reviewed at several stages.

Stage 1

Fill out an application (available for download on this page or in hardcopy by calling or writing the IM office) and send it to IM.

Stage 2

The applicant must meet certain criteria in order for his/her application to be considered:

  • The applicant has been convicted of a serious indictable offence in the province of Quebec.
  • A claim of factual (actual) innocence is seriously advanced. Cases are accepted only if, on his/her own facts, the applicant is innocent of the offence at issue or any included criminal offence(s). While cases with evidence susceptible to DNA testing may be preferred, other cases of factual innocence will be examined.
  • All rights of appeal have been exhausted.
  • The applicant must have some new evidence which points to their innocence and was not available at trial and/or on appeal.
  • Priority is given to applicants who were sentenced to at least ten years in prison and who are currently in prison.

Stage 3

Once a completed application is received, Innocence McGill members will research and review it, assessing its merit against our stated  criteria. The application review process can be a lengthy one, often taking several months to complete. At the end of this process, IM will make a decision whether or not to proceed with the file. Applicants will be promptly informed of IM's decision.

Stage 4

If IM accepts the file, our lawyer supervisor will either take on the file or help us find another member of the Barreau du Québec who can act as the official legal representative on the file.


Important Notes

  • Until Stage 4 is completed, Innocence McGill has not agreed to accept a file and may choose to reject a file at any time. Our ultimate decision will depend on numerous factors, many of which are listed above, but will also necessarily include the availability of required resources and the number of cases already accepted or currently under review. We must limit ourselves to cases where our efforts and resources can be most appropriately applied.
  • The members of Innocence McGill recognize the seriousness of a claim of wrongful conviction and will dedicate the amount of time appropriate to each case for review and, ultimately, investigation. The application review process can be a lengthy one, often taking several months to complete.
  • IM seeks for transparency and is committed to keeping applicants informed at every stage of our application process.

Download the Application

If you would like Innocence McGill to consider your case, please print out and complete the following questionnaire.

Innocence McGill English Questionnaire [.pdf]

Mailing Address

Innocence McGill
McGill Faculty of Law
3644 Peel Street
Montreal, QC
H3A 1W9

Contact Us

If you have any questions concerning the application process, please do not hesitate to contact Innocence McGill by email: innocence [dot] law [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca, phone: 514-398-3112 or by mail. 
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