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why does a court case get adjourned

If your case has been "adjourned," this means that it has been put "on hold," so-to-speak. In other words, the case has been "paused" for some reason. The courts will adjourn a case for a number of reasons and at many different points in the trial process. A motion, trial, pre-trial conference, or any other court date can be adjourned for any number of reasons, including unavailability of counsel or their client, a lack of time in the courtBs schedule, or for procedural irregularities. If your case has been adjourned, the court will give you instructions on how to proceed. Sometimes, a case is adjourned sine die, which means it has been adjourned without another date being set. In this case, the parties will have to schedule another date themselves if they wish the case to continue.

Other times, when a case is adjourned, it will be rescheduled for a date at some point in the future. Disclaimer:
Why did my case get adjourned? One of the most frustrating things people face in court is an adjournment. You get all ready for a hearing and then nothing happens beyond getting a date to come back later. There s an old saying justice delayed is justice denied and there is some truth to that. On the other hand unless the court has an opportunity to hear both sides fully there is a real chance that justice will not be done. In most cases it is better to be right rather than fast. Unfortunately, of course, while a case is adjourned there can be harm.

Children don t get to see their parents, someone presumed innocent stays in jail and someone owed money doesn t have that money to spend. All that said, in general, any delay caused by an adjournment is usually necessary and justified. So why are there adjournments? There is any number of reasons but usually adjournments are caused by one of three problems. First, something goes wrong at court. The judge is sick, a pipe bursts in the courthouse or there is no heat in the community hall. This is fairly uncommon and usually leads only to a brief delay. What s more, living in an imperfect world there is nothing that can be done about this sort of delay stuff happens.

Second, one of the parties isn t ready. This is common enough and it s usually a legitimate request for a brief adjournment to allow for preparation. Especially if the delay is short and some terms are put on the adjournment it is fair and proper. Again it s better to be right than too fast. Of course sometimes some people try to adjourn matters just to delay the case. That s why a judge never grants an opposed adjournment request without hearing submissions as to whether an adjournment is appropriate. Finally adjournments may be caused by witnesses not shown up or being ill. In such a case the importance of the witness and the reason for their non-attendance is carefully considered before a case is adjourned.

A trial will seldom be delayed because a witness who adds very little is unavailable. One problem we face specially in Nunavut is that court does not sit all the time in every community. If a case is adjourned from one circuit to another there may be a delay that is longer than ideal but that s an inevitable part of living in the North. Another issue is that our court is presently overstretched in terms of workload and capacity. Here are too many cases for the existing resources and that leads to longer adjournments than are ideal. Provided an adjournment is for a legitimate reason and the delay is not too long there is little harm and much benefit from a delay.

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