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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 in adult criminal courts, 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? : The amount of time it takes to process a case through the courts is an important measure of court efficiency. 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 underscores this: A 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.
Direction of improvement : A decrease in this indicator could indicate an improvement in criminal justice system efficiency and timeliness.
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 excludes cases in which the case length was unknown. 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

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