Advertisement
JIS News

Two Bills, addressing the backlog of court cases, were passed in the House of Representatives on September 9.
The Bills seek to amend the Judicature Supreme Court Act, so as to increase the number of Judges of the Supreme Court and the number of Masters; and the Judicature Appellate Jurisdiction Act, so as to increase, by six, the maximum number of Judges of the Court of Appeal.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh, who piloted the Bills, noted that the amendments were made in an effort to improve the effectiveness of the justice system.
“This (passing of the Bill) is, of course, in dealing with improving the efficiency and the efficacy of the court, to deal with cases that come before them year by year. And because of the difficulties that have been experienced for many years, there have been an accumulation culminating in a huge backlog of cases,” he said.
The Bill to amend the Judicature Supreme Court Act, seeks to provide for a minimum of 24, and a maximum of 40, Puisne Judges, and a minimum of four, and a maximum of eight, Masters.
Turning to the Bill to amend the Judicature Appellate Jurisdiction Act, which intends to increase, by six, the maximum number of Judges of the Court of Appeal,
Dr. Baugh noted that “the present complement of the Court of Appeal is seven, that is the President and six judges, which allows for two panels of three judges to sit”.
“The seventh judge sits in chamber to deal with chamber matters, there is, therefore, little or no time available to the judges for the preparation and writing of judgements, despite all the measures in the past, to clear this backlog of cases by strengthening the facilities of the Supreme Court and the Resident Magistrates’ Court, an increase in the number of judges in those courts, the number of judges of the Appeal Court has remained the same since 1967,” he continued.
Dr. Baugh added that there is now a concerted effort to bring the backlog of cases within acceptable limits, and have the courts operating in keeping with international standards.