Justice Efficiencies and
Access to the Justice System
There are several ways case management or case flow management can be implemented. These may be generally described as:
- 1. Moral suasion
- this is the judge who actively manages their courtroom. These are not formal rules. For example in this courtroom, counsel will provide a written outline of their argument.
- 2. Local practice
- this is moral suasion applied to a set of cases. It is usually geographically circumscribed but can be based on case type. For example, in all commercial crime cases counsel will provide a draft exhibit list.
- 3. Practice preference
- this is more formal and indicates an official preference but is not mandatory. For example, counsel should attempt to pre-mark exhibits on commercial crime cases. It may be applied to a local or general area. Unlike local practices, they are usually published. They are frequently issued by the Chief Judge or Justice but can also be issued by Administrative Judges.
- 4. Practice directives or notices
- these are formal directions that have binding force. For example, counsel will use and file a specific form when mutually agreeing to limit the scope of a preliminary inquiry. Practice directives are normally issued by the Chief Judge or Justice. They are published.
- 5. Statutory enactments
- these are case management and case flow management decisions that are imposed uniformly through a statute. An example is the focusing hearing for preliminary inquiries under s. 536.4(1).
- 6. Rules of Court
- these are broad based rules which can include case management and case flow aspects that are created under s. 482. They require the approval of the lieutenant governor in council of the relevant province and must be published in the Canada Gazette. The British Columbia Criminal Case Management Rules were promulgated under s. 482 after approval by a majority of the provincial court judges in British Columbia.
- 7. Case Management Rules
- these are specific case management rules created under s. 482.1. This rule making power was created because there was uncertainty about the scope of rules permitted under s. 482. Rules made under this section require the approval of the lieutenant governor in council of the relevant province and must be published in the Canada Gazette. This section permits rules that delegate power to court administrative staff.
At present the Criminal Code [ss. 482(5) and 482.1(6)] provide that both Rules of Court and Case Management Rules can be supplanted by the Governor General in Council to secure national uniformity. As outlined further below, consideration should be given to streamlining the process of creating case management systems – either through practice directions or rules – such that there is local autonomy over case management approaches.
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