Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, says that despite the challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, courts have continued to operate effectively, including hearing matters electronically.
He noted that operational changes have resulted in an increase in the number of judgements.
“By the end of March 2022, there should be no judgement that is outstanding for more than three to six months at the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal,” the Governor-General said.
He was delivering the Throne Speech at the ceremonial opening of Parliament at Gordon House on February 18 under the theme ‘Building Forward…Stronger Together’.
The Governor-General said that the Government continued a progressive programme of justice reform and strengthening the delivery of social justice in the areas of restorative justice, child diversion and victim services.
“The Ministry promulgated the Dogs (Liability for Attacks) Act, which provides for criminal and civil liability for attacks by dogs and the Authentication (Foreign Public Documents) Act, which will facilitate a more simplified process for authenticating local public documents intended for use overseas, and foreign documents to be used in Jamaica,” he noted further.
For the upcoming fiscal year, the Government intends to introduce a Mediation Bill to enact legislation to ratify the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (the Singapore Convention on Mediation), and to create a legislative framework for greater use of domestic mediation.
The Government will also amend the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act to expand the powers of the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Board to consider applications for expungement; and repeal the 19th century Notaries Public Act, replacing it with a modern and more comprehensive legislation.
Further, the Government intends to pilot for enactment, the Judicature (Parish Courts) (Amendment) Bill and Judicature (Appellate Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Bill to, inter alia, grant a limited right of appeal to the prosecution.