Over the last five years, the court martial system has conducted, on average, 63 trials per year. From a human resources perspective, over the last five years, military judges (accounting for periods when there were both three and four military judges) each conducted on average 17.1 courts martial per year (including both contested and uncontested matters). On average, 6 of these 17 matters would have been fully contested trials, with additionally 1 to 2 contested sentencing hearings after guilty pleas. The remaining 9-10 trials would have been ones involving guilty pleas following by joint submissions as to the sentence. These numbers can be compared with an average of:
12.7 trials per year for military judges in Australia; 89.5 trials per year for judge advocates in the UK; 420 trials per year for judges in Ontario; and 431 trials per year for judges in Manitoba.
These approximately 17 courts martial (6 contested) per military judge, per year, required of each judge on average 59.3 sitting days. This number can be compared with:
104 sitting days per year for judge advocates in the UK (for an average of 89.5 trials); and 119 sitting days per year for judges in Manitoba (for an average of 431 trials).
Because courts martial are ad hoc ‘events’ normally convened by the Court Martial Administrator in the location where the alleged offence took place (or, some other place based on considerations about the location of the accused person, witnesses, or other affected CAF members), courts martial involve travel and this must be taken into account. Assuming that travel was required for every court martial, this would add 34 travel days to the 59 sitting days, for a total of 93 ‘court martial attributable’ days per year, per judge. This figure is closer to the numbers from the UK and Manitoba in total ‘sitting days’. However, the judges of those systems complete between 5 times and 25 times as many trials per year as Canadian military judges. Judges must also do some judicial work on days when they are not sitting, which is not reflected in the above data regarding sitting days for either the court martial system or any of the comparator system.
Based upon the above comparators, it is evident that Canada’s court martial system is among the most judicially resource-intensive, even after taking account of its itinerant nature.