How long is too long to wait for trial?

In a split decision, the Supreme Court of Canada has set out new guidelines that will dramatically change the way our courts enforce the right under section 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to be tried within a reasonable time.

The old rules set down in 1992 involved balancing a series of factors, including the length of the delay, the reasons, any conduct by the accused that waived portions of the waiting time, limits to institutional resources for getting cases heard, and prejudice to the accused.

In R. v Jordan, after commenting on the harmful trend toward lengthier delays, the majority set out a fixed time-frame to determine whether charges should be stayed because of violation of section 11(b). 

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