Hundreds of cases postponed over shortage of judges in Quebec's Nunavik region

·1 min read

MONTREAL — Quebec provincial court has cancelled an entire week of hearings due to a lack of judges in the province's northern region of Nunavik.

The Justice Department says about 250 cases were postponed this week in Kuujjuaq, one of the region's 14 Indigenous communities, because no judges were available to travel with the itinerant court.

The court of Quebec has about 319 judges, with another 61 retired judges allowed to fill in, but none of them are permanently based in Nunavik.

Sarah Plamondon, who represents northern Quebec in the provincial association of defence lawyers, says the consequences are dire for both the accused facing delays and victims who might start to lose trust in the judicial system.

She says some cases will have to waitover a year for a new court date, which could push them past the limit set in the Supreme Court's Jordan ruling and result in charges being dropped.

In that 2016 decision, the high court said provincial court trials should finish within 18 months of the person being charged.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 19, 2022.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press

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