The Government is exploring the option of having more night court sessions in an effort to reduce the backlog of cases before the judiciary.
Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, made the disclosure on February 29 at the weekly Jamaica House press briefing.
She informed that Cabinet, at its meeting this week, was advised of the efforts being undertaken to more accurately determine the number of outstanding criminal and other cases in the court system. “And we also looked at mechanisms being considered to reduce these cases and one of the things we are considering is to have more night court sessions,” she said.
Senator Falconer informed that Cabinet was also briefed on the existing financial and other issues affecting the court administration and the number of personnel in the system.
She noted that a number of cases in the courts may be overstated, informing that the Minister of Justice, Senator Mark Golding, “is going through the process of looking at what these cases are because what he has found is say, for example, you have a case with 12 counts, they may have been counted as a case, so what they are doing is auditing and going through it”.
She said that the auditing process will determine “how much funding should be budgeted to deal with the backlog of cases that are not major criminal cases that we can get rid of quickly, so that we can focus on some of the bigger cases and criminal matters”.
Senator Falconer, in the meantime, informed that the Legislative Committee of the Cabinet will meet twice monthly, with additional meetings as the need arises.
She said Cabinet was advised that in order to have better Bills for presentation to Parliament, more detailed work must be done with clear policy outline and detailed drafting instructions.
The need for the naming of legal liaison officers within ministries was also highlighted. “Such officers would be the contact persons on all legislative matters within the ministries and this would enable the smooth flow of information between the ministries and all the external agencies,” Senator Falconer explained.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter