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Canadian Institute for the Administation of Justice (CIAJ)

CIAJ Roundtable on Criminal Trial Delays


This program was a series of four roundtables to be held in September 2017 in four major cities of Canada. Four days in total. For the fiscal year 2017-2018, hours were worked out with the local committee under the auspices of the trial court Chief Justice. In 2018–2019, two roundtables were held in both Halifax and Alberta. The program would contribute to the debate and dialogue regarding the delays in criminal trials. Based on that successful experience and on the vast interest of the legal community for the topic of delays, CIAJ organized four roundtables that would be run under the auspices of the province’s Chief Justices.

This program allowed up to eight federally appointed judges from each of the four identified provinces to attend each round table to discuss with local interveners – prosecutors, defence lawyers, academics, judges, police and the justice department the issue of delays in a non-adversarial, open and productive fashion. Discussions on potential solutions to eliminate excessive delays were facilitated by experts on the matter. After the roundtables, a report was published by the CIAJ.

This program offered cross-sector discussions on the challenges arising in criminal cases.


The principal focus of this program was to discuss the challenges of delays in the system; explore the solutions to these delays and bring actors together to agree on the situation, and to find common grounds to resolve these issues.


The challenges faced by the criminal justice system have serious impacts on the Canadian population and on the administration of justice. Since 2016, a growing number of criminal cases have been dismissed. In December 2016, the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee asked the Supreme Court to clarify its ruling. More recently, three murder cases have been dismissed because of the Jordan ruling, and the number of requests for stays of proceedings has expanded across the country. Confusion and ignorance could lead to miscarriages of justice and erosion of public trust in the criminal justice system.
The design of this program followed a set of common principles; beginning with the identification of learning needs, the development of learning objectives, the selection of the program and faculty. The roundtables discussion was in the form of panels facilitated by experts whose task was to solicit ideas in a discussion format.


Oct 13th -
Dec 2nd 2018

Number of Participants