Issue 18-31: Adult Criminal Court Elapsed Time

February 13, 2018

The time to adjudicate court cases in British Columbia has fallen significantly over the last ten years. In 2005/2006, cases took a median of 111 days to decide, but by 2015/2016, the time from the initial court appearance through to the date of decision was reduced to a median of 100 days per case.

Homicide cases took the longest to conclude, at a median of 556 days, followed by prostitution charges, which took 529 days to work their way through the court process. In general, crimes against the person took less time to settle (155 days), compared to crimes against property (100 days). Other criminal code charges (weapons, prostitution, disturbing the peace) also took longer to decide (155 days), while administration of justice (failure to appear, breach of probation, etc.) were the fastest (51 days). Traffic offences, such as impaired driving, were slower to move through the court system, with a median of 169 days from first appearance to final decision.

Across the country, median time in court ranged from a low of 37 days in Prince Edward Island, to a high of 228 days in Quebec. The national median was 112 days.

Data Source: Statistics Canada