GG Cites Shift in Courts’ Role


Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Sir Kenneth Hall, has cited a shift in the role of the courts from its customary duties and functions.
Speaking at the swearing in ceremony of Senior Resident Magistrates, Bertram Morrison and Sara Thompson-James as acting puisne judges at King’s House on Thursday (March 20), Sir Kenneth noted that, while for long, the courts primarily administered justice in civil and criminal proceedings they are now taking on matters outside of those activities.
“And what do I mean? The Broadcasting Commission is asking the court for an injunction against an entity which they (Commission) regulate. (And in) the matter of elections.there was a time when the elections, I thought, were more or less fought and determined in the electoral process. I have the sense that the courts have now become the arbiter of majorities or otherwise. Not that they (courts) have gone out to seek business, but rather that business has been brought to them in ways which we have not, up to this point, been as familiar with,” the Governor- General stated.
Despite this, Sir Kenneth said the court has remained the place where citizens pursuing legal recourse can hope to get redress. “And more importantly, they (citizens) generally abide by the decisions of that court,” he stated.
The Governor-General was quick to point out, however, that the pressure that was being brought to bear on the courts’ resources, particularly with the backlog of cases, could not be overlooked.
“It means (therefore) that in the next few years, if this trend continues, then our courts are either going to be overwhelmed, or they must be given substantial increases in resources in technology, in space, and in other facilities to ensure that the standards of justice, which we have become accustomed to, can be maintained over time,” Sir Kenneth stated.
In commending Mr. Morrison and Mrs. Thompson-James on their appointments, Sir Kenneth said that executing their duties will “require particular commitment (and) determination, if we are to maintain the integrity (and) standing of the courts in our national affairs.”
Mr. Morrison and Mrs. Thompson-James will act as puisne judges over a four-month period between March and July, in the absence of High Court judges Paulette Williams and Almarie Sinclair-Haynes, respectively, both of whom are on leave.

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