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The Judiciary of Jamaica has launched its Remote Hearing Guidelines aimed at providing guidance on the technological arrangements for the conduct of remote hearings in all courts. The guidelines are designed to ensure consistency and uniformity in these proceedings.
Chief Justice the Honourable Mr. Justice Bryan Sykes, OJ, CD said the publication of the Remote Hearing Guidelines is part of the Judiciary’s thrust to improve access to justice and to incorporate greater use of technology in court operation.
“It is a document that will guide how persons can gain access to the court remotely and how the court will conduct its proceedings. It’s really in simple English; easily understood. It’s on our websites and can be downloaded,” he explained.
The Remote Hearing Guidelines can be retrieved from any of our websites: courtofappeal.gov.jm, supremecourt.gov.jm, parishcourt.gov.jm and cad.gov.jm. These guidelines apply to all remote hearings conducted in open court or chambers in any court of Jamaica. They come into effect immediately, and will continue in effect until amended or revoked by the Chief Justice. The guidelines were produced in consultation with stakeholders; including the private Bar, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Department of Correctional Services.
Chief Justice Sykes was speaking at a handing over ceremony for two mobile buses retrofitted with audio-visual technology to hear testimonies from witnesses remotely. The units were handed over to the Court Administration Division at the Ministry of Justice in St. Andrew on Friday, November 5, 2021.
“They [mobile units] will be one way by which persons who are unable to get to court for whatever reason can have access to these buses and utilizing modern technology so that their testimonies can be brought to the court,” Chief Justice Sykes said.
He added that the mobile units will also help to dispose of matters within a timely manner because they will reduce the likelihood of cases being delayed due to witnesses who are not able to appear in court in person.
The Chief Justice said the buses represent a significant step to realizing the Judiciary’s dream of having a first-class first-rate legal system.