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Story Highlights

  • JRIU has embarked on a series of consultations with members of the legal fraternity, as part of plans to fully implement Criminal Case Management (CCM).
  • CCM’s implementation has worked well in other jurisdictions, and contended it can also work in Jamaica’s courts.
  • A more proactive approach by judges, and better preparation by prosecutors and defense attorneys are necessary to effectively deal with cases when they brought before the courts.

The Justice Reform Implementation Unit (JRIU) has embarked on a series of consultations with members of the legal fraternity, as part of plans to fully implement Criminal Case Management (CCM) in the country’s courts.

The consultations will entail: sharing of proposals for Criminal Case Management improvements, as recommended by the courts and their technical legal advisors; informing lawyers on the justice reform process and its impact on the courts; facilitate feedback from the Jamaica Bar Association, which represents attorneys, on criminal justice reform initiatives; as well as lawyers on necessary and relevant professional development strategies.

The Unit is facilitating the consultations as part of its mandate, and in light of Chief Justice, Hon. Zaila McCalla’s emphasis on the importance of and benefits to be derived from implementing CCM in the courts.

In a presentation at the initial forum at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, on May 27, Mrs. McCalla indicated that the CCM’s implementation has worked well in other jurisdictions, and contended it can also work in Jamaica’s courts.

“Criminal cases coming before the courts have increased over the years. As a result, it is necessary to combine our (legal fraternity) efforts to address the challenges it poses in order to promote the interest of justice and inspire confidence in the system,” the Chief Justice said.

Mrs. McCalla emphasized that a more proactive approach by judges, and better preparation by prosecutors and defense attorneys are necessary to effectively deal with cases when they brought before the courts.

These steps, she added, would address case backlog currently experienced in the justice system.

Meanwhile, the Chief Justice advised that a steering committee, comprising representatives of the legal fraternity, has been established to brainstorm and identify ways in which the justice system can operate more effectively and efficiently.

Meanwhile, Director of the JRIU, Donna Parchment Brown said the outcome of the consultations will inform policy decisions and legislation, adding that “the robust participation of legal professionals and other stakeholders is of great importance.”

The next consultation forum is scheduled for Friday, June 6, at the Hilton Rose Hall and Spa in Montego Bay, St. James.

The JRIU, which falls under the Ministry of Justice, was established through funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) under the Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST) Programme.