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LAO offers coverage for second judicial pre-trials across Ontario

Judicial pre-trials help resolve criminal cases early and reduce costly delays

TORONTO, Ont (March 1, 2017) Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is working to decrease criminal court delays and better support its clients by providing coverage for mandatory second judicial pre-trials to courts across Ontario.

A second judicial pre-trial is a substantial meeting between Crown and defence with a judge to determine options for resolving a case, or to examine the evidence and outstanding issues before a case goes to trial. This proceeding is often effective in either settling many criminal matters or reducing delays help to spare the expense of time and money on a needless trial. For eligible matters legal aid clients receive additional coverage on their legal aid certificates for the second judicial pre-trial.

Over the last ten months LAO has worked with the Ontario Court of Justice, criminal defence bar and the Ministry of the Attorney General on a project to fund second judicial pre-trials or substantially similar events in several Ontario Court of Justice locations as a pilot project.

This pilot has been successful in increasing the number of early resolutions to criminal cases, while also improving how cases are managed if they need to come to trial. LAO will now provide coverage for lawyers representing eligible clients to participate in these second case management events across the province as of March 1, 2017.

The roll-out of coverage for second judicial pre-trials across the province follows from an initiative by both the Ontario Court of Justice and the Ministry of the Attorney General to decrease criminal court delays.

Quotes

"Ontario is moving forward with its plans to make the criminal justice system faster and fairer by implementing key programs to help reduce time-to-trial. We applaud initiatives such as the one now funded by Legal Aid Ontario with second judicial pre-trial that decreases delays and does away with unnecessary trials. By improving these fundamental parts of our criminal justice system we will make our communities safer."

— Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General of Ontario

"Justice delayed is justice denied. Legal Aid Ontario supports the Attorney General's commitment to prevent costly criminal court delays. The second judicial pre-trial is one important way to decrease both administrative and substantive delays in the criminal justice system and to ensure that low-income Ontarians find access to justice in a timely fashion."

— David Field, President and CEO, Legal Aid Ontario

Media requests

Graeme Burk
Communications Advisor
Phone: (416) 979-2352 ext. 5208
Cell: (416) 347-7862
Email: media@lao.on.ca