New Zealand Law Society - Canadian justice delays need attention, says report

Canadian justice delays need attention, says report

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Canada's Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has released a report on delays in Canada's criminal justice system which finds the delays are a significant problem that demands attention.

The report, Delaying Justice is Denying Justice, has been released after public hearings when the committee heard from 75 witnesses who included lawyers, government officials, former and sitting judges, victims and victims groups and police.

"The broad consensus the Committee gathered from witnesses is that delays are a significant problem in Canada that demands attention," it says, saying immediate action is required by all levels and branches of government.

Looking at the causes of delay, the committee noted differing approaches to case and case flow management employed by chief judges and trial judges, an over-burdened justice system, the need for more judges, and insufficient legal aid funding.

The report says in Canada in 2013/14, the median time from the laying of a charge to a case's final disposition for an adult was 123 days and the median number of court appearances was five. For homicide cases, the median time was 451 days, followed by sexual assault cases at 321 days, and attempted murder cases at 314 days.

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