JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Chief Justice, Bryan Sykes, is reporting a 100 per cent case disposal rate at the St. Catherine Parish Court.
  • He noted that this is a significant improvement over the 81.2 per cent disposal rate in 2017.

Chief Justice, Bryan Sykes, is reporting a 100 per cent case disposal rate at the St. Catherine Parish Court.

He noted that this is a significant improvement over the 81.2 per cent disposal rate in 2017.

The Chief Justice, who was addressing a recent justice forum in the parish capital of Spanish Town, recently, credited the development to the leadership of the judges and the improve efficiency of staff at the court office.

He noted, however, that hearing date certainty is at 78 per cent and requires a “change in culture and behaviour on the part of everyone in order to bring it to the required level.”

He said that when cases are delayed, it causes witnesses to lose interest, noting that repeat visits also cause a financial burden.

“The judges have to be prepared to begin the cases; the lawyers have to be prepared to begin the cases. When we do that, we create an environment of expectation where persons go to court and anticipate commencement of trials,” he argued.

St. Catherine Parish Court is among the top three courts in Jamaica in terms of case disposal rates. It also has one of the highest loads of criminal cases.

Turning to measures to address the backlog of cases before the courts, the Justice Minister said every year going forward for the next six years, every parish court has been charged to dispose of at least 135 cases, for every 100 new cases entering the system.

The forum in Spanish Town brought together stakeholders in the justice and social services sectors to facilitate discussions on ways to best serve the legal and judicial needs of communities.

To date, similar sessions have been held in six parishes.