Quebec government says new powers for justices of the peace will reduce court delays

By The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — Quebec’s justice minister is giving more responsibility to justices of the peace to free up provincial court judges and reduce delays.

Simon Jolin-Barrette says presiding justices of the peace will be given the power to oversee criminal court appearances and bail hearings.

He says the move will liberate 15 to 20 provincial court judges to hear other matters.

Presiding justices of the peace oversee penal cases related to Quebec laws and certain federal statutes and are responsible for issuing warrants.

Jolin-Barrette says he wants to reduce the number of cases that are dropped because they fail to meet deadlines set by the Supreme Court of Canada in a landmark 2016 ruling known as the Jordan decision.

He says the province will use video conferencing more frequently, allowing judges and court officials who are not necessarily in the same city as the accused to oversee appearances on criminal matters.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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