Terms of Reference - Attorney General Launches Complex Criminal Case Procedure Review
There has been a significant increase in the number of large and complex criminal cases in recent years. Such cases often involve multiple accused, multiple Defence counsel, vast volumes of Crown disclosure and serious criminal charges. The pace, effectiveness and cost of these prosecutions is increasingly a matter of concern to the Ministry of the Attorney General and the justice system generally.
The Hon. Patrick J. LeSage, Q.C., and Professor Michael Code have been retained by the Ministry of the Attorney General to lead a review of large and complex criminal case procedures ("the Review").
The Review will identify issues and recommend both short and long-term solutions to move large, complex cases through the justice system faster and more effectively. These solutions may include recommendations for:
- New policies and procedures for Crown prosecutors
- Opportunities for more effective practices by justice system participants
- Maximizing the effective use of justice system resources
- Specific federal legislative and procedural reforms that would be beneficial.
Mr. LeSage and Professor Code, with the assistance of government officials, will undertake focused discussions with key stakeholders including Defence and Crown counsel, the judiciary, court officials, Legal Aid Ontario, police agencies, federal government officials, and others involved in large, complex criminal cases. Mr. LeSage and Professor Code may rely on existing studies, reports and advice on this subject from this and other jurisdictions.
Mr. LeSage and Professor Code shall have access to Ministry employees and relevant documents.
In order to maintain the integrity of the judicial process, Mr. LeSage and Professor Code will not report on any current or pending matter before the courts.
Mr. LeSage and Professor Code will provide their best advice and practical, useful recommendations that will address the pace, effectiveness, and cost of large and complex criminal cases, taking into account the results of focused consultations and their own research. Mr. LeSage and Professor Code will not be bound by any consensus or lack of consensus among stakeholders in the development of their advice and recommendations.
Mr. LeSage and Professor Code will conduct the review on an accelerated basis and meet regularly with the Attorney General or designated officials.
Mr. LeSage and Professor Code will deliver a final concise written report to the Attorney General of Ontario. Mr. LeSage and Professor Code will also ensure that such report will include recommendations, together with adequate context to understand the rationale for those recommendations, and will be in a form appropriate for release to the public, pursuant to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, by August 31, 2008.