JIS News

Jamaica’s justice system is set to receive a boost, as Court Administrators from across the island will be participating in an intense one-week residential training programme from June 6 to 13.
The government is funding the training programme at a cost of roughly $3 million.
Key personnel from Justice Development International Limited (JDI) in Canada have designed the course and will be primarily responsible for its delivery to approximately 30 participants, at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Hotel in Ocho Rios.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Carol Palmer told JIS News that, “all court administrators are booked to be there, [as well as]. a few other persons, who are possible candidates, who may deputize when the court administrator is on leave, or in fact have that as a potential career path for themselves.”
The training programme, she explained, was designed to: improve the skill levels of administrators; help them shape a vision of what the court system is; inform them of the peculiar management requirements of a court; and help them to maximize their efficiency in the court.
The Permanent Secretary noted that the facilitators involved, have major experience in court administration. “In fact the major teacher is the person who assisted in the development of the National Center for State Courts in the United States,” she noted.
This training programme comes on the heel of the completion of the Social Conflict and Legal Reform project, which was funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The Permanent Secretary explained that through this association, “significant relationships have been developed with persons, who provide support to the justice sector in Canada”.
She further explained that, “the Canadian jurisprudence is similar to Jamaica . both of us coming out of British colonial systems and so Canada is the country of choice, as a first world country, where systems are far more developed and advanced than we have in a developing environment.”
Some of the areas to be covered in the training programme include: expedition and timeliness; equality, fairness and integrity; independence and accountability; case flow management; backlog reduction; delay prevention, among others.
Mrs. Palmer noted that the course lecturers would provide impact assessment tools so that, “we can see how the court administrators are applying what they have learnt, to the greater betterment of the justice system.”
The two internationally recognized Canadians leading the training are Dr. Carl Baar and Pamela Ryder-Lahey.
Dr. Baar is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Brock University, and Adjunct Professor at York University. He has over 30 years experience teaching and doing research on court administration in Canada, the United States, Australia and a number of other common law countries in Africa and Asia.
Ms. Ryder-Lahey is Director of Provincial Court Services for the Province of Newfoundland and past president of the Association of Canadian Court Administrators. She has 25 years experience in a trial court that evolved from a court with lay judges, to a modern, fully professional institution. She also has extensive hands-on training experience in Canada, Russia, Albania and the Philippines.

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