JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding has outlined plans to review the roles of Custodes and Justices of the Peace in order that these offices can contribute more to the functioning of the justice system. He said government intended to increase the duties of JPs and that the Attorney General had been directed to prepare a Cabinet submission that would seek to put the role, functions and authority of custodes within a statutory framework.
Mr. Golding said, ‘There is no statutory legislation relating to Justices of the Peace although JPs are an important part of the fabric of governance. Governance is not just confined to Members of Parliament and Councilors who are not necessarily the best suited persons to bring stability to communities’. The Prime Minister stated that as part of the strategy to relieve the pressure on the court system the Minister of Justice will be seeking to utilize the JPs in dealing with those matters that can be dealt with at that level. He said JPs are being trained to administer the law and dispense justice and that some issues that now go to RM courts can be conducted by Justices of the Peace.
He wants those trained to operate as lay magistrates to be given added responsibilities so that people in the communities will know their different functions. ‘We want to see to what extent we can define with some more clarity the functions and responsibilities of the JPs’. Mr. Golding said his government had given a commitment before the election to ease the pressure on the court system and to this end government will be establishing a Community Disputes Tribunal. This will be presided over by JPs; and persons who have issues which may have already become the subject of litigation, could agree to have them settled through this tribunal. The Prime Minister’s statements were made yesterday (May 7) at the installation of Dr David Stair as Custos Rotulorum for the Parish of Hanover, which took place at the Jockey factory in Hanover. The oath of office was conducted by the Governor General, His Excellency Dr. Patrick Allen.

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