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  • Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says that submission has been made for the hiring of 10 additional judicial clerks to assist courts in handing down judgments.
  • He said the Ministry is also willing to hire Norman Manley Law School students to provide assistance in conducting research.
  • The Justice Minister said he is of the view that no case should last more than 18 months in the parish courts and no more than two months in the Supreme Court.

Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says that submission has been made for the hiring of 10 additional judicial clerks to assist courts in handing down judgments.

A judicial clerk is a qualified attorney who aids a judge in researching issues before the court, writing opinions and making legal determinations.

Minister Chuck, who was addressing the General Legal Council’s Law Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, on May 22, said the  additional support will ensure more timely delivery of judgments.

He said the Ministry is also willing to hire Norman Manley Law School students to provide assistance in conducting research.

Minister Chuck informed  that he continues to consult with stakeholders in the justice system towards establishing reasonable timelines for the disposal of cases before the courts.

He cited New Zealand and Canada, as among countries that have instituted laws to dismiss criminal cases that have remained before the courts over a specified period without trial.

He said that this approach is worthy of consideration for Jamaica.

“I have been in consultation with a number of stakeholders and will continue… to analyse whether this approach will be workable in Jamaica. It cannot be that cases lag in the courts forever,” he said.

Earlier this year, Minister Chuck put forward the proposal of setting timelines for the disposal of cases in order to ensure greater efficiency in the justice system and protect the rights of Jamaicans.

At the time, he urged judges to push to dismiss cases that are in the system for five years and more, by the end of this year, arguing that it was unfair to have litigants going to court for such a long time to have their cases settled.

The Justice Minister said he is of the view that no case should last more than 18 months in the parish courts and no more than two months in the Supreme Court.

He said that while these timelines may not be possible in the next few years, “certainly, we must find ways and means to ensure that we have no case lagging at least in the criminal courts for five years.”

“Hopefully, by the end of 2017, we must put in place provisions to ensure that cases drop to below four years and that by 2020, no cases will go beyond three years as we work towards a lower timeline. It is absolutely important for us to do so,” Mr. Chuck stressed.