Gov’t Assessing Extent of Case Backlog

Story Highlights

  • The Government is working on a statistical system to accurately assess the extent of case backlog in courts across the island.
  • This is according to Director of the Justice Reform Implementation Unit in the Justice Ministry, Althea McBean who said it has been implemented in major courts since July, to help quantify and track the number of cases which have been in the court system over a specific number of years.
  • She explained that previous studies have been done, but some figures have been inflated based on how they were calculated, in that charges were being counted as opposed to one case. She noted as well that court matters also inflated the figures.

The Government is working on a statistical system to accurately assess the extent of case backlog in courts across the island.

In providing an accurate status of court cases, this system will allow the Government, the court management and the Chief Justice to allocate resources accordingly.

This is according to Director of the Justice Reform Implementation Unit in the Justice Ministry, Althea McBean who said it has been implemented in major courts since July, to help quantify and track the number of cases which have been in the court system over a specific number of years.

She explained that this sustained project will serve to specifically determine “the current number of cases at any given time in any court, how long they have been on the list, how many mention dates have been set etcetera, so we can know the disposal rates”.

Ms. McBean, who was speaking in a recent interview on the Jamaica Information Service television programme Issues and Answers, said the system should provide more accurate information than former assessments.

She explained that previous studies have been done, but some figures have been inflated based on how they were calculated, in that charges were being counted as opposed to one case. She noted as well that court matters also inflated the figures.

She further informed that the Court of Appeal, and all Parish Courts (formerly Resident Magistrate’s courts) have been equipped with the statistical case management system.

Implementation at the Supreme Court is still in progress.

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