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State of the Criminal Justice System Dashboard

Case completion time in adult criminal courts

Collection source : Integrated Criminal Court Survey, Statistics Canada
What it is? : This indicator represents the median number of days to case completion, from first appearance to final decision. The median is the point at which half of all cases had longer case lengths and half had shorter case lengths.
Why is it important? : Court delays are a significant concern because of increased CJS costs, the rights of accused persons, and the effect on victims of crime. The Supreme Court of Canada’s Jordan decision shows that failure to provide a trial in a reasonable period violates the constitutional rights of accused persons and can result in cases, including serious charges, being dismissed (R. v. Jordan, [2016] SCC 27 1 S.C.R. 631). This can contribute to further hardship for victims and the ineffective use of CJS resources, as well as undermine public safety and public confidence in the CJS. A decrease in this indicator could suggest an improvement in the criminal justice system’s efficiency.
Direction of improvement : The expected direction of improvement for this indicator is a decrease.
Geographic coverage : Canada (excludes information from superior courts in Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, as well as information from municipal courts in Quebec)
Limitation : The data exclude cases in which the case length was unknown. Note that the calculation of case completion time as reported in the Integrated Criminal Court Survey begins from the first court appearance while the Jordan limit begins at the time a charge is laid. Using this indicator to estimate the number of cases that exceed the Jordan limit may result in underreporting. Since some of the most serious cases are processed in superior courts, the absence of data from superior courts in Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan may result in a slight underestimation of case elapsed times as more serious cases generally require more court appearances and take more time to complete. For more detailed notes, click on the export to spreadsheet function.
Direction : The value increased from the previous year and is not moving in the defined direction of improvement.
Resources :

Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS) - Overview

Adult criminal courts, cases by median elapsed time in days in Canada- Data Table

Measuring efficiency in the Canadian adult criminal court system: Criminal court workload and case processing indicators

Integrated Criminal Court Survey: Interactive Dashboard on Preliminary Quarterly Data

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