Resources for the Justice System

The importance of a timely and effective legal system cannot be overemphasized. A well-developed and properly resourced justice system is critical to a healthy democracy. An inadequately resourced system results in significant delays and accessibility challenges.

It is undisputed that, during the past 20 years, it is taking dramatically longer for matters to  be heard in the Alberta court system. The delays that are being experienced clearly show that “justice delayed is justice denied.”

The ever-increasing pressure on Alberta’s court system—due to funding deficiencies, budget cuts, and lack of investment in infrastructure and technology—significantly and negatively impacts the efficiency and effectiveness of the justice system in Alberta.

There are three main causes of delays:

  1. The federal and provincial governments have not added commensurate resources to keep pace with Alberta’s unprecedented population growth.
  2. The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in R. v Jordan, which places limits on acceptable delays for criminal trials, has caused all court systems to prioritize criminal matters at the expense of all other matters.
  3. Insufficient funding of Legal Aid Alberta (LAA) has led to a rise in the number of self-represented litigants, who take up significantly more court time and resources than represented litigants.

View the full document for more information.