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Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator A.J Nicholson has informed that a revised code of conduct for Justices of the Peace is in its final stages.
“The importance of maintaining the integrity of the office and a stream of allegations of misconduct on the part of some holders of the office pointed to the urgent necessity for a code of conduct,” Senator Nicholson explained during the State of the Nation debate in the Upper House on Friday (Nov. 24).
Guidelines for the modus operandi of JPs had been in place since 2001, but Senator Nicholson said the Ministry had seen it fit to produce a more detailed instrument that was consistent with those obtained in other regional jurisdictions.
“The code of conduct will be presented to His Excellency, the Governor General by the end of this month and it will be further buttressed by statutory provisions that will be brought into force in short order,” he informed.
The announcement of the finalisation of the JP code of conduct comes after the administration of the Flanker Peace and Justice Centre in Montego Bay, St. James hosted a three-day training programme for current and potential Restorative Justice (RJ) practitioners from Western Jamaica, last week.
The specialised training, developed and delivered jointly by the Justice Training Institute (JTI) and the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF), was made possible through a US$125,000 donation by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The workshop, which was part of an island-wide initiative coordinated by the Ministry of Justice, also got underway in St. Mary on November 9 and continued in Kingston and Spanish Town, St. Catherine. Some 200 prospective trainees drawn from the church, civil society, the police and correctional service, as well as Justices of the Peace, have been targeted for this intensive training in RJ principles.
A specially arranged seminar on Restorative Justice principles in the criminal and civil jurisdictions is also planned for local Supreme Court judges.
These initiatives are in keeping with the thrust to modernise the entire justice system.