The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference


Jordan got it right.

The use of presumptive ceilings to determine whether there has been a violation of a Charter right is a blunt instrument which eliminates most of the ability of judges to consider the individual circumstances of cases and to exercise discretion. It allows no role for what might seem to be an important consideration, the seriousness of the offence. Had this been the Court’s first attempt at structuring the right, it would seem unsophisticated and simplistic.

But of course Jordan is not the first attempt at outlining the contours of the right to a trial within a reasonable time: it is more like the third or fourth. And as a response to the reality which confronted the Court — a reality of the Court’s own making — Jordan made the right choice in eliminating as much discretion as possible.

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