British Columbians are well-served by steps the Province has taken in recent years to address trial delays.
Government has been making improvements to resolve criminal trials earlier, set earlier trial dates and manage complex prosecutions since Geoffrey Cowper’s report in 2012.
In his 2016 update, Mr. Cowper concluded that, “British Columbia has become a leader in justice system innovation and performance.”
- The number of prosecutions dismissed due to delay is down from 122 in 2011 to 19 (12 federal Crown, seven provincial Crown) in 2016.
- By introducing new technology and innovation, less serious matters are being diverted from courts and enabling courts to deal with more complex, serious cases.
- The Immediate Roadside Prohibition regime diverts over 6,000 cases a year out of court.
- The Civil Resolution Tribunal is also increasing capacity of courts to deal with criminal cases by addressing strata claims and, in early 2017, beginning intake of some small claims.
- The B.C. Prosecution Service has also made improvements such as:
- Crown file ownership to reduce the number of Crown involved in a file
- Online charge assessment
- Renewed emphasis on early file resolution
- The institution of a Comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding on Disclosure between investigative agencies and Crown.
- The provincial court’s “Time to Trial” reports show that British Columbia is trending in the right direction and making progress in reducing trials times throughout the province.
Ministry of JusticeGovernment Communications and Public Engagement