Source — CBC NewsRead country-profile
Canada: Justice ministers craft plan to unclog court systems
Justice ministers from across Canada have identified priority areas for major overhaul in a bid to end chronic court delays.
After a daylong emergency meeting in Gatineau, Que., the ministers mapped out a game plan to speed up the criminal justice system. Their review will target key areas for reform, including:
- Mandatory minimum sentences.
- Bail reforms.
- Administration of justice offences.
- Preliminary hearings.
- Reclassification of offences.
Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould promised to expedite efforts to fill judicial vacancies as one way to address court delays. She said innovation and restorative justice will be used to speed up the system.
- Defence lawyers support trial timelines
- Courts scramble to meet new timelines
While no concrete measures were agreed on, Wilson-Raybould called the meeting “substantive” and a “success,” and said all ministers are committed to transformative change to decrease delays.
Ensuring public confidence
Chronic delays and backlogs took on a new urgency after the Supreme Court of Canada’s Jordan ruling last July. That landmark 5-4 judgment put timelines on an accused criminal’s right to a trial; within 18 months in provincial court or 30 months in a superior court.
Wilson-Raybould called that top court decision a “call to action.”
“Certainly nobody wants a situation where a serious charge is stayed because of [delay]. We all reiterated around the table that we will do everything we can to ensure public confidence in the criminal justice system,” she said.
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