Targeting Criminal Justice Court Delays In Hamilton
McGuinty Government Implementing Faster, Focused Justice
Ontario is speeding up justice in Hamilton as part of the new Justice on Target strategy. Under the strategy, Ontario is setting targets to reduce court delays and appearances by 30 per cent over the next four years.
This is the first time the province has set targets to reduce the provincial average of days and court appearances needed to complete a criminal case.
To ensure transparency and accountability, the province is also making available criminal court statistics to the public for the first time. The public will be able to follow the progress of the strategy and see the impact on courthouses in their local communities.
The multidisciplinary Justice on Target implementation team will be led by Regional Senior Justice Bruce Durno and Senior Crown Attorney Kenneth Anthony. The team will work with justice sector partners in local courthouses to develop and implement new initiatives that improve coordination, focus justice resources and move cases through the justice system faster.
As part of Justice on Target, Ontario will be expanding two successful initiatives into Hamilton:
- Dedicated Prosecution changes the way cases are managed by Crown prosecutors. It allows them to better monitor the progress of their cases and focus on substantive decisions earlier in the court process, helping to complete cases faster.
- On-site legal aid reduces unnecessary court appearances by helping accused persons apply for legal aid in their local courthouse and retain a lawyer sooner, allowing cases to move through the justice system faster.
- It now takes approximately twice as many court appearances and days, on average, to complete a criminal case as it did in 1992.
- In 2007, it took an average of 157 days and 8.5 court appearances to dispose of a criminal charge in Hamilton compared to the provincial average of 205 days and 9.2 court appearances.
- With 600,000 charges entering the system every year, saving one minute per charge could save seven years of court time.
“Through Justice on Target, we are moving to reduce unacceptable court delays and move justice faster. This will increase public safety and confidence in our justice system.”
“Dedicated prosecution and on-site legal aid are proven initiatives that will make the criminal justice system in Hamilton faster and more effective”