Hiring spree of Crown lawyers aimed at reducing court wait times

Nova Scotia is increasing staffing at the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) to ensure it has the resources it needs to prosecute more complex cases and support vulnerable people.

Attorney General and Justice Minister Brad Johns announced today, January 25, that 27 new permanent positions will be added to the PPS.

“Nova Scotians want to feel safe in their communities and a well-functioning justice system is essential for their security and peace of mind. We are committed to addressing pandemic-related backlogs and increasingly complex cases and reducing the number of cases dismissed without a trial,” said Minister Johns. “The Public Prosecution Service does important work on behalf of Nova Scotians and we will continue to work closely with them to address staffing and workload concerns and keep Nova Scotians safe.”

Seventeen of the new positions – 11 Crown attorneys and six legal assistants – will play a crucial role in the administration of justice and support specialized prosecution teams related to human trafficking and sexualized violence, as well as increase front-line Crown attorney positions around the province.

The other 10 new positions will allow PPS to make its intake team pilot project permanent. The pilot began in 2017 to triage cases to address court backlogs and support compliance with Jordan timelines.

PPS will designate four new lawyer positions for equity candidates, improving representation within the organization.

“I thank the provincial government for providing the PPS with this much-needed support. These new positions will contribute significantly to the Crown’s role in protecting public safety and reducing the risk of criminal cases being dismissed for delay. The designated positions for racialized Crown attorneys will help the PPS better reflect our community and demonstrates our commitment to diversity and inclusion.” 
– Rick Woodburn, K.C., acting Director of Public Prosecutions

Quick Facts:

– the PPS was created in 1990 as Canada’s first independent public prosecution service

– more than 100 Crown attorneys prosecute Criminal Code charges and provincial regulatory offences
– Section 11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms sets out that any person charged with an offence has the right to be tried within a reasonable time; the Supreme Court of Canada, in the 2016 Jordan decision, set these timelines at 18 months in provincial court and 30 months in Supreme Court

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