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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Justice Square project to be expedited to provide more courtrooms and Chambers for judges
  • Eleven additional court rooms to be created
  • On completion, there will be an additional 15 chambers for judges

As part of its backlog reduction strategy, the Ministry of Justice will be seeking to expedite the Justice Square project in downtown Kingston, to provide more courtrooms and Chambers for judges.

In  an interview with JIS News, Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, said that so far, the basement and the first two floors located in the former National Commercial Bank (NCB) building have been renovated and remodelled as courtrooms and chambers for judges, with a registry and holding area.

“That is substantially completed. For the upper two floors, we are in the process of getting the National Contracts Commission’s approval to continue with the contractor to complete them,” Senator Golding noted.

“We have an agreed price with the contractor and we are hoping to be able to start that process. I am told that the estimated time for completion is five months,” he added.

The Minister said this will enable some 11 additional court rooms to be created, seven of which will be in the former NCB building and four will be in the Supreme Court building.

He further informed that on completion, there will be an additional 15 chambers for judges, three of which will be for Masters in Chambers.

Phase 1 of the Justice Square project began after the Ministry signed a contract valued at $399 million on February 23, 2011.

It involves extensive renovation of the old NCB building and the refurbishing of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

There will also be offices for the newly created Court Management Service (CMS), which will give the Chief Justice autonomy in the management of the courts.

The Government has allocated some $410 million in the 2013/14 Estimates of Expenditure for construction works under the Ministry of Justice.

Of the sum, $370 million will go towards the construction and improvement of courthouses; continuation of the Justice Square project; and the renovation of a building on Hagley Park Road to house the Ministry.