In R v Jordan, a decision released last year, the Supreme Court of Canada imposed a framework to determine whether an accused was tried within a reasonable time under section 11 of the Charter. The Supreme Court of Canada imposed a presumptive ceiling on the time it should take to bring an accused person to trial: 18 months for cases tried in the provincial court, and 30 months for cases in the superior court.
This decision has had an impact on criminal, regulatory and bylaw matters across Canada. This article considers the impact Jordan has had to date, and provides a commentary on other factors that may be contributing to lengthy delays in court.
R v. Jordan was intended to deliver a shock to the system, and on that score it succeeded admirably. The ruling hasn’t quite fulfilled the dire predictions of the dissenting minority on the SCC bench — that it would risk “thousands of judicial stays” nationwide. A Dalhousie University law professor, Stephen Coughlan, did a review of stay applications in the six months following Jordan and found only a mild uptick in the number of applications filed, with most of the successful applications happening in Ontario.