One modest proposal for speedier justice

What do you tell victims of crime when they find out that because of delays in the justice system they will not get their day in court? What do you tell a child temporarily removed from her home when she asks when she can go back and the answer is: “When we can find a judge to decide”? These questions are just a few of many in a debate about access to justice in Ontario and Canada.
Access to justice is a real issue affecting all Canadians, from victims of crime to accused persons, children and families, the elderly and the innocent. But while we strive to improve access to justice, the courts are limited by significant constraints, such as personnel, funding and, specifically, a lack of judicial officers to hear cases.
These limits create institutional delay. For example, according to the Child and Family Services Act and the Family Law Rules, a hearing regarding child protection must take place within four months of the start of the case, but in fact more than half of all child protection proceedings took more than four months in 2011-2012, the most recent year for which we have statistics.

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