Restitution for Victims of Crime
If you have suffered financial loss as a result of a crime, you may have the right to seek restitution from the offender. Restitution may also be sought from young offenders, however, limitations apply. Restitution is a way for the offender to repay you for the loss you have suffered.
The Alberta Solicitor General and Public Security helps communities assist victims of crime.
How do I apply for restitution?
You are required to complete a Request for Restitution form, which will be provided to you by a police officer investigating your case. If a Request for Restitution form is not given to you, please ask for one. Once you have filled out the form, return it to the police as quickly as possible. The police will then send your form to the Crown prosecutor, who will determine whether an application will be made to the court. If the Crown declines to make the application, you may request the court to do so on its own motion. You may wish to contact your own lawyer in such a case.
How will I know the status of my request?
You may make your inquiries at the Crown prosecutor's office, the police station or at the nearest police Victim Service Unit.
What information is required on the Request for Restitution form?
The form sets out the available categories of restitution and asks that you provide background to identify the incident, yourself and the offender. The amount of restitution must be easily established by the court.
Do I have to provide proof of my loss?
Yes. You are responsible for bringing all necessary documents to court to assist in establishing the amount you are claiming.
Why must I submit the Request for Restitution form to the police as quickly as possible?
The form is needed quickly as the offender may plead guilty early. Where the Crown prosecutor determines that the application will be made to the Court, a copy of the Restitution form is provided to the defense counsel and/or offender in accordance with the disclosure practices.
Will I have to appear in court?
The Crown prosecutor decides whether or not it is necessary for you to appear in court, and if it is, you will be notified.
When can an offender be ordered to make restitution?
After an offender is found guilty, the judge can consider restitution when sentencing.
What if the offender is unable to pay a fine and repay me?
When appropriate the restitution order will be made first.
What restitution may be ordered by the court as a result of a crime?
Damage, destruction, loss of property: the restitution order will not exceed the value of property and will be reduced by the value of any property that has been returned.
Bodily or psychological harm: the restitution order will cover monetary loss including income or support.
Expenses incurred in moving out of the offender's house: the restitution order will cover any reasonable expenses.
Losses incurred by unknowingly purchasing or lending money on stolen property: where the property has been returned to its lawful owner, the restitution order will cover the loss you have incurred. The order will not exceed the original amount you paid or the amount outstanding on a loan.
If I'm not in court, how will I get a copy of the restitution order?
A copy of the restitution order will be sent to you by the court. Ensure that the Provincial Court Clerk's Office has your current mailing address.
What steps do I take after the court has ordered restitution for me?
You are responsible for filing the order as a judgment in the Court of Queen's Bench. At that time inform Court of Queen's Bench of your current mailing address.
You are also responsible for enforcing the judgment in the same way as if you had brought an action in Civil Court and obtained a judgment.
Will I have to pay a fee to file the order in the Court of Queen's Bench?
No. A Civil Court filing fee will not be charged for a restitution order.
What if restitution is ordered, but not paid?
Victim service programs are not allowed to give legal advice; however, they can provide you with information about the civil claims process. You may wish to ask victim services for a brochure entitled "Getting and Enforcing Your Judgment in Alberta." As well, you may wish to consult a lawyer of your own choosing for advice on enforcing the judgment. The Lawyer Referral Service (1-800-661-1095), sponsored by the Law Society of Alberta, allows you to consult a lawyer for 30 minutes at no charge. In addition, you may wish to listen to tapes offered by the Dial-a-Law service at 1-800-332-1091.
If the Court does not grant restitution or I am unsatisfied with the amount, can I pursue the matter in Civil Court?
Yes. Applying for restitution does not stop you from using the Civil Court process.