Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Auditor General reports on Canadian military justice

The Auditor General of Canada today released this report on the Administration of Justice in the Canadian Armed Forces. The AGC came to two conclusions:

3.87 We concluded that the Canadian Armed Forces did not administer the military justice system efficiently. There were delays throughout the various processes for both summary trials and court martial cases. In addition, systemic weaknesses, including the lack of time standards and poor communication, compromised the timely and efficient resolution of military justice cases.

3.88 We also concluded that the Office of the Judge Advocate General did not provide effective oversight of the military justice system and did not have the information needed to adequately oversee the military justice system.
The report makes nine recommendations, all of which were agreed to by National Defense. Cristin Schmitz wrote this for The Lawyers Daily:
If Auditor General Michael Ferguson’s May 29 report card examining the timeliness of case processing, and the efficiency and operation of the CAF’s military justice system, in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, were to be summed up in a single letter grade, arguably it would be “F.”

What Ferguson’s auditors found in their year-long and first-ever review of the Canadian military justice system will be an eye-opener for lawyers whose only acquaintance with the military justice system comes from reading the JAG’s annual report, but military law cognoscenti will be less surprised by the negative assessment of a system which has been under fire for delays and other problems — both from within and without — for many years.
Comments from Canadian readers are invited (real names only, please). The question is: what happens in light of this report? Parliamentary hearings?

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