OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says the caseload in youth courts fell seven per cent in 2010-2011, a second straight annual drop.
The agency says youth courts handled about 52,900 cases last year, involving more than 178,000 charges.
Meanwhile, adult criminal courts completed nearly 403,000 cases in the same year, involving about 1.2 million charges.
The adult caseload was virtually the same as the previous year following three consecutive annual increases.
The number of youth court cases fell in every province except Manitoba, where it was up three per cent from the previous year.
The number of adult cases declined by seven per cent in British Columbia and by six per cent in Alberta and Quebec.
These declines were offset by increases elsewhere, including Saskatchewan, where cases rose five per cent and Ontario, which had a two per cent increase.
Most criminal cases involved non-violent offences.
For adults, 77 per cent of all completed cases involved property, administration of justice, traffic or other non-violent offences, such as drug charges. Violent offences accounted for the remaining 23 per cent.
The most common offences in adult court were impaired driving, theft, common assault, failure to comply with a court order and breach of probation.
In youth courts nearly three-quarters of cases completed involved non-violent offences.
The most common cases involved theft, failure to comply with a sentence and breaking and entering.
About two-thirds of adult criminal court cases resulted in guilty verdicts, consistent with previous years.
The most common sentence in adult criminal courts was probation, handed down in 45 per cent of all guilty cases.
About 57 per cent of youth cases resulted in a finding of guilt and 58 per cent of sentences involved probation.
One in three guilty adults ended up behind bars, mostly for six months or less.
About 16 per cent of juveniles were sentenced to custody, down from 29 per cent a decade ago. The median for such sentences was 35 days.
The median length of time to complete an adult criminal court case fell for the second year in a row. The median time was down to 118 days, down from a peak of 128 days in 2004-2005.
A decade ago, the figure was 101 days.
The median time to finish juvenile cases last year was 113 days, up from 70 days a decade earlier.