House Approves Resident Magistrate’s Amendment and Change of Name Act

Story Highlights

  • The House of Representatives has approved the Judicature (Resident Magistrate’s) (Amendment and Change of Name) Act, 2015 which, among other things, changes the name of these courts from Resident Magistrate’s to Parish Courts.
  • Attorney-General, Patrick Atkinson, who piloted the Bill through the House recently, explained that judicial officers of these courts will no longer be referred to as Resident Magistrates, but judges of the Parish Courts.
  • The Attorney-General noted that the Bill is one of two pieces of legislation intended to reform the justice system.

The House of Representatives has approved the Judicature (Resident Magistrate’s) (Amendment and Change of Name) Act, 2015 which, among other things, changes the name of these courts from Resident Magistrate’s to Parish Courts.

Attorney-General, Patrick Atkinson, who piloted the Bill through the House recently, explained that judicial officers of these courts will no longer be referred to as Resident Magistrates, but judges of the Parish Courts.

“It also establishes the offices of a chief judge of the Parish Court and an executive legal officer to the chief judge of the Parish Court,” he informed.

The legislation increases the number of years of qualification for the appointment of a judge to the Parish Courts; removes the requirement for residency in the parish to which they are assigned; provides for immunity from suits in like manner as is provided to judges of the senior courts; and it makes provision for the recording of notes of evidence of proceedings in courts by electronic or other means.

The Attorney-General noted that the Bill is one of two pieces of legislation intended to reform the justice system.

The other is the Judicature (Supreme Court) (Amendment) Act, 2015, which seeks to establish a strategic framework for the administrative arm of the courts.

The Bill, which was also passed in the House, will facilitate the establishment of a Court Administration Division, which will replace the Court Management Services, which was initially established by administrative arrangement in 2010.

The Bill also provides for the appointment of a Director of Court Administrator, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Division; the appointment of an Executive Legal Officer to the Chief Justice; and establishing a governance framework for the Court Administrative Division, including the appointment of an advisory board.

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