Slow Justice Has No Meaning

Justice is slow.  Even assuming you can get justice in a court room.

Toronto estate lawyers, Hull & Hull, recently commented on the Georganes vs. Bludd case which involved a situation where an estate trustee also had a personal interest in a matter regarding the estate he administered.  Their advice was for lawyers to keep two time dockets.  One for the estate part and one for the personal part. Probably smart although you might wonder about a conflict.

The interesting news though is different.

  • The judgement was received 10 months after trial.
  • The trial was twelve years after the death.

There is no shortage of criminal cases where the trails is two or three years after the event.  That is somewhat different than in olden times.  In researching old newspaper articles from the early 20th century I noticed a case where a husband had murdered his wife on Saturday, attended trial on Wednesday, and was hung on the following Saturday.

There is an old adage that justice delayed is justice denied.  Years to start a criminal trial and decades for a civil one meet my definition of delayed.

There are many excuses ranging from civil rights, to appeals, to backlogged dockets.  All are excuses.  They are not reasons.   It has become a habit.

Thus our current malaise with the “Justice” system.  No one knows what the rules are or how they are changing.

If you are seeking justice, the courts should probably be at the bottom of your list for where to go.  The costs are prohibitive, the outcomes unpredictable, and the time ridiculous.

As a former chief justice of Ontario once told me, “You don’t go to court for justice; you go to court to have the rules applied.”

In our increasingly rule bound and litigious society, there can be little expectation of justice.  Political influence seems to be replacing that.

As they say at Apple, “Jobs help us all.”

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario. Contact:  

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