JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The work involves the further refurbishing of the Supreme Court and renovation of the former NCB building.
  • The Justice Square project is part of the Reform Policy Agenda of the Ministry of Justice.
  • Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Carol Palmer, said that the judges and all court personnel “are anxiously awaiting the use of the facility.”

The Ministry of Justice has signed a contract valued at $245 million for Phase II of the Justice Square Project.

The work, to be undertaken by MLO Construction over a six-month period, involves the further refurbishing of the Supreme Court and renovation of the former National Commercial Bank (NCB) building on King’s Street, downtown Kingston.

The Justice Square project is part of the Reform Policy Agenda of the Ministry of Justice and is intended to provide appropriate work conditions for judges and court personnel, as part of overall efforts to improve the justice system.

Speaking at the contract signing held on December 3, at the Ministry’s Oxford Road offices, portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, said that Justice Square represents an important investment for the people of Jamaica.

“It is essential that while the laws are strengthened and modernized, so too must the physical infrastructure of the court system be enhanced and developed to bring about the requisite improvements in the delivery of justice,” he stated.

He said that upon completion, Justice Square will house seven additional courtrooms, four additional judges’ chambers, and two additional chambers for the masters in chambers of the Supreme Court. The complex will also house the Supreme Court Civil Registry, the Registry for matrimonial matters, holding areas, two witness rooms, a police post, and support areas for the full staff complement required to service the judicial activities.

“I trust that the users will find aesthetic pleasure in the completed facility, and that litigants, judges, counsel and court staff will enjoy the improved working environment that it will afford.  I charge all users of this complex, when it is completed, to treat it with due respect and care and to be mindful that the halls of justice should be orderly and fit for purpose. We should all do our part to maintain the facilities for future generations,” Minister Golding stated.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Carol Palmer, said that the judges and all court personnel “are anxiously awaiting the use of the facility.”

She said that Chief Justice, Hon. Zaila McCalla, has proposed to use Justice Square largely for civil matters while the existing public building will be used for criminal cases.

Phase I of Justice Square began in early 2011, following the Ministry’s signing of a contract valued at $399 million on February 23, 2011.

Meanwhile, infrastructure improvement work is being undertaken on other parts of the island, a the Ministry seeks to improve the public’s access to justice services.

Some $410 million has been allocated for construction works in the 2013/14 Estimates of Expenditure.

“We are in the process of conducting infrastructural work on Magistrate Courts in Black River, Buff Bay, Morant Bay and Santa Cruz. We have also completed the renovation of a new location in Montego Bay which is providing much more commodious accommodation for the Montego Bay Legal Aid Clinic, and we are excited that it will also become the home for the new Western Civil Registry of the Supreme Court, shortly,” Minister Golding reported.

He also informed that demolition work is being completed at 2 Hagley Park Road, which is intended to be the new home of the Traffic Court, and the Ministry of Justice.

He noted that this move “will save the public purse tens of millions of dollars that is now being spent annually on renting office accommodation for the Ministry.”