The Hours are Long: Unreasonable Delay after Jordan

Palma Paciocco, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University


In its most recent case on the section 11(b) Charter right to be tried within a reasonable time, R v Jordan, the Supreme Court of Canada invoked "the familiar maxim: 'Justice delayed is justice denied.'" Marshall McLuhan once ventured a characteristically maverick rejoinder to that particular old chestnut: "Whereas convictions depend on speed-ups, justice requires delay." In reality, both aphorisms hit upon important truths about our criminal justice system. Taken together, they underscore the importance of carefully calibrating the right to be tried within a reasonable time.