On Friday, the SCC completely overhauled the framework for analyzing pre-trial delay under s. 11(b) of the Charter in its decision in R. v. Jordan, finding that the existing test is unduly complex and unpredictable. Going forward, there will be a rebuttable presumption that a delay of more than 2.5 years in bringing a person to trial in the Superior Court will be unreasonable, leading to a stay of proceedings. Although the presumption may be rebutted by evidence that the prosecution was "complex," the Court made it clear that prosecutions should very rarely be considered complex enough to justify a delay longer than 30 months. It went so far as to say that a typical murder case would not qualify as "complex."
The Court's decision will likely have a significant impact on how white collar cases are prosecuted. White collar prosecutions tend to involve relatively lengthy delays, typically on account of their "complexity." As a result of the guidance in Jordan, courts are likely to look more critically at these claims going forward. Whether this results in fewer and more streamlined prosecutions, or a greater allocation of resources to white collar cases, remains to be seen.