The process for conducting a criminal trial may be complicated by differing processes and rules in different locations. Part of the difficulty is attributable to a complex system of rule-making authority for criminal matters. Some provisions are prescribed by the Criminal Code while other processes may be set by the court in question.
The Alberta Law Reform Institute identified three specific areas in which non-standardized matters were particularly problematic:
Charter Issues “ The content of a notice of Charter application is not clearly specified. As a result, notices often do not contain enough information for the court or Crown to prepare for the hearing or to assess the impact of the application on the trial schedule.
Non-Disclosure Orders “ In order to prevent release of information which is the subject of a non-disclosure order application, it is necessary to clearly state that such information may not be published prior to the court`s decision on the application.
General Challenges for Cause in Jury Selection “ In order to avoid the risk that a general challenge for cause will delay a criminal jury trial, the party seeking to challenge every prospective member of the jury for cause must apply for court permission to do so at least two months before the date of jury selection.
Individual consultation documents were circulated for each of these subject areas.
Final Report 100 contains a standardized and principled process for each of the three areas and at the same time articulates the underlying principles in each. The result will be a more clear and efficient access to justice in criminal cases involving these issues.
Final Report 100: Criminal Trial Proceedings was updated May 9, 2013 with a correction to Recommendation 4.