Posted on: Tuesday, June 3 /08
Under the province's new Justice on Target 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.
The first two initiatives being implemented as part of the Justice on Target strategy are expansions of programs that have proven successful in reducing court appearances and delays.
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) currently accepts on-site applications in nine Ontario courthouses. To help meet its target, the province will work with LAO to place legal aid application offices in an additional 17 criminal court locations in Ontario in the coming months. Once open, on-site legal aid offices will be operating in 26 courthouses serving almost 80 per cent of criminal legal aid clients province-wide.
In these locations, an accused person can apply for legal aid on-site and, if successful, could retain a lawyer more quickly. Getting a lawyer on the case faster can help reduce the number of appearances needed to resolve a case, and allow more cases to move through the system more effectively.
LAO is also innovating a simplified online application process. LAO staff will be able to help a client apply for a legal aid certificate online and if approved, print it right away. This service will also be expanded in the coming months to allow defence counsel and caseworkers to access the system.
For more information on Justice on Target please refer to the following links: