Steering Committee on Justice Efficiencies and Access to the Justice System – Report on Disclosure in Criminal Cases
June 2011

IV. Conclusion

[169] Disclosure to the defence is a necessary component of the right to make full answer and defence. The Stinchcombe decision was a necessary response to a major shortcoming in Canadian law. There is no going back. This report has sought to explain why legislative reform or the establishment of national standards alone will not "solve" the current disclosure crisis. The Crown’s disclosure obligation is a substantial one and codifying the obligation will not lessen the practical burden of fulfilling it.

[170] Improving the way disclosure is managed to more effectively comply with the regime mandated by Stinchcombe will increase the fairness and efficiency of Canada’s criminal justice system. If there is a more uniform system for organizing, keeping track of and providing disclosure, evidence is less likely to be lost. If disclosure is provided more rapidly, each step in the process will proceed more efficiently. A trustworthy, transparent disclosure system will increase the fairness of the system and reduce disclosure disputes. Judges with statutory authority and an inclination to actively manage pre-trial issues will drive cases forward and contribute to fair resolutions. We believe implementation of the recommendations contained in this report will assist the criminal justice system in responding to the information management challenges posed by the constitutionally guaranteed right to disclosure.

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