- Five judges sworn in by the Governor-General
- An increase in the current complement of judges is critical to address many of the shortcomings in the system
- There has been an “excessively high increase” in the volume of work in recent years
Acting President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Hazel Harris, is calling on the relevant authorities to swiftly appoint additional judges to the Court of Appeal.
“It is my fervent request that the authorities treat this matter as urgent and put in place the requisite machinery to have additional judges installed as early as possible,” she stated.
Justice Harris was speaking on September 12 at the swearing-in of five judges by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, at a ceremony held at King’s House.
She said an increase in the current complement of judges is critical to address many of the shortcomings in the system. She acknowledged that she is aware that approval has been granted for three additional judges to be appointed to the Court, however, those appointments have not yet materialised.
There are currently seven judges serving the Court of Appeal, who are charged with the responsibility of hearing appeals and applications from decisions of the Supreme Court, the Resident Magistrate Courts, as well as those from Administrative Tribunals.
Justice Harris informed that there has been an “excessively high increase” in the volume of work in recent years and this “heavy workload has placed considerable strain” on the judges.
“The onerous burden can only be alleviated by the increase of the current complement of judges,” she remarked.
“If we are to continue at the pace at which we are required to work, surely and soon and very soon, the names of most of us will be listed in the obituary pages of the newspapers,” Mrs. Harris said.
Meanwhile, the Acting President of the Court of Appeal congratulated the judges, who were sworn in to act in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.
They are: Justice Carol Lawrence Beswick, to act as Judge of Appeal; Her Hon. Vivene Harris; Her Hon. Georgiana Fraser; and Her Hon. Cresencia Brown, who will all act as Puisne Judges; and Her Hon. Sonia Bertram-Linton, to serve as Master-in-Chambers.
Mrs. Harris encouraged the judges not to become daunted by adverse comments, but to continue to dispense justice and to do good work.
The Governor-General, who presided over the ceremony, charged the judges “to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God”.
Chief Justice, Zaila McCalla, also congratulated the judges, noting that each of them has been summoned to render greater service as they have performed well and have distinguished themselves throughout their careers.
“I implore all judges to continue to give of your best in the service of your country and be faithful to the judicial oath that you have taken,” she remarked.
Responding on behalf of the appointees, Justice Beswick stated that the judges all feel privileged to have been given this opportunity to serve their country.
She noted that while they are aware of the many challenges, they pledge to give their “all as each of us tries in her own way to conscientiously, impartially and correctly discharge the duties we have”.