Speedy trial

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In criminal law, the right to a speedy trial is a human right under which it is asserted that a government prosecutor may not delay the trial of a criminal suspect arbitrarily and indefinitely. Otherwise, the power to impose such delays would effectively allow prosecutors to send anyone to jail for an arbitrary length of time without trial.


Although it is important for the protection of speedy trial rights for there to be a court in which a defendant may complain about the unreasonable delay of the trial, it is also important that nations implement structures that avoid the delay. [1]

Recognition of speedy trial rights

In jurisdictions with strong rule of law, the requirement of a "speedy trial" forces prosecutors to diligently build cases within a reasonable amount of time commensurate with the complexity and heinousness of the crimes of which suspects are accused. The right is based on the notion that long-term incarceration should normally be restricted to situations in which a judge or jury have determined a suspect has committed a crime.

The right to a speedy trial is codified in fundamental legal documents in several jurisdictions, and may be further defined by statutory law.


Speedy trial rights are recognized within Section Eleven of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In R v Jordan, the Supreme Court of Canada held that these Charter rights are presumed to have been violated when the trial does not begin within 18 months of the charges being filed, or 30 month when there is a preliminary inquiry. When speedy trial rights are violated, the Crown must drop relevant charges by entering a stay of proceedings.

Once the presumptive ceiling is exceeded, the burden is on the Crown to rebut the presumption of unreasonableness on the basis of exceptional circumstances outside the Crown's control.


Within Europe, speedy trial rights are recognized by Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In English law, this right was developed by the Assize of Clarendon in 1166 (a judge would be summoned if one was not immediately available) and Magna Carta in 1215 ("To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice."). [2]


Right to speedy trial is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. [3]


The Article 37  [ ja ] of the Japanese Constitution states, "In all criminal cases the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial tribunal." [4] Takada case  [ ja ], which had not held a court for 15 years, was dismissed by Supreme Court of Japan according to Article 37. [5] After the Takada case, it is considered that dismissing judge should only apply if the accused ask acceleration of a trial.


The Constitution of the Philippines states, "All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies." [6]

United States

In the United States, basic speedy trial rights are protected by the Speedy Trial Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. For federal charges, the Speedy Trial Act of 1974 applies. The trial must commence within 70 days from the date the information or indictment was filed, or from the date the defendant appears before an officer of the court in which the charge is pending, whichever is later.

States may also offer additional speedy trial protections. In June 1776, a "speedy trial" provision was explicitly included in the Virginia Declaration of Rights by George Mason, its principal author.

The consequences of a speedy trial violation may require that the case be dismissed, although depending upon the circumstances it may be possible for the state to again initiate a criminal charge against a defendant despite a speedy trial violation.

See also

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  1. Buonomo, Giampiero (2000). "Equa durata del processo: il risarcimento non risolve il problema". Diritto&Giustizia Edizione Online. Archived from the original on 2012-08-01. Retrieved 2016-03-21.
  2. Shestokas, David J. (13 November 2014). "Sixth Amendment's Speedy Trial Right: Ancient, Worthy and Elusive". David Shestokas. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  3. "2. Analysis of the legal position in India on speedy trial versus judicial delay | Article 2".
  4. "日本国憲法 / The Constitution of Japan". www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp. Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  5. 日本国語大辞典, ブリタニカ国際大百科事典 小項目事典,朝日新聞掲載「キーワード」,デジタル大辞泉,百科事典マイペディア,世界大百科事典 第2版,大辞林 第三版,日本大百科全書(ニッポニカ),精選版. "免訴(めんそ)とは". コトバンク (in Japanese). Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  6. "Constitution of the Philippines, Article III". Wikisource. Retrieved 28 September 2017.