JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, is reminding Jamaicans that they are still able to access justice services, particularly through the use and integration of technology, in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Meanwhile, Director, Client Services, Communication and Information, Court Administration Division, Kadeish Jarrett-Fletcher, said though operations have been scaled back to adhere to the guidelines established by the Government, persons are being encouraged to utilise the services of the emergency call centre to make queries at 1-888-429-5269 or email at customerservice@cad.gov.jm.
  • Ms. Jarrett-Fletcher noted that bail has been extended to May 11 for appellants. “That date will be under review based on the measures that are being put in place by the Executive,” she said, adding that bail hearings are being facilitated by videoconferencing

Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, is reminding Jamaicans that they are still able to access justice services, particularly through the use and integration of technology, in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Trials have been put off until later in the year, because consistent with no large gathering and social distancing, it is not possible to have trials, but the courts are still operating in very limited circumstances, but in emergency matters, and custody matters, you can access information and participate,” he said, during a digital town hall meeting on April 24.

The forum was held to examine the effects of COVID-19 on the justice sector.

Mr. Chuck also informed that the COVID-19 stakeholder panel, which was convened by the Chief Justice, meets regularly. It has representatives from all the Bar associations, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the police, the Department of Corrections, the Ministry of Justice as well as other agencies.

“This panel is important to those who seek to access justice to the extent that they can participate via their attorneys to get in touch and the President can bring the concerns, the issues and challenges faced by litigants and those who seek to access the courts,” he said.

He noted too that persons who may require legal advice can contact the Legal Aid Council via email or telephone.

“In this crisis, the Chief Justice, Supreme Court Judges, Parish Court Judges, attorneys, we are all looking at how we can innovate and be creative in responding to the challenges, in particular as is happening right now. We can live stream, people can ask questions and that’s exactly how the courts… are operating now and they continue to operate using technology,” he said.

Meanwhile, Director, Client Services, Communication and Information, Court Administration Division, Kadeish Jarrett-Fletcher, said though operations have been scaled back to adhere to the guidelines established by the Government, persons are being encouraged to utilise the services of the emergency call centre to make queries at 1-888-429-5269 or email at customerservice@cad.gov.jm.

“We are only hearing emergency matters, we are facilitating guilty pleas, and matters which can be heard on paper are being facilitated.  At the Court of Appeal, case management conferences listed before a single judge, they are being heard by teleconferencing or other electronic means, and the Registrar is advising all the parties as to how their matters will be dealt with,” she outlined.

She explained too that matters scheduled for hearing are being done on paper, meaning written submissions are being taken where that is possible. “In the event that there is an emergency matter requiring oral submissions, that will be done by teleconferencing or other electronic means,” she added.

Ms. Jarrett-Fletcher noted that bail has been extended to May 11 for appellants. “That date will be under review based on the measures that are being put in place by the Executive,” she said, adding that bail hearings are being facilitated by videoconferencing

She added that all judgments of the Court, starting from March 23, are being handed down by teleconferencing or other electronic means.

“As it relates to the Supreme Court, all sittings for the Home Circuit Court division of the Gun Court,  the High Court Division of the Gun Court, the Western Regional Gun Court and the Home Circuit Court… are suspended in the initial stage until May 11, but again, we are reviewing that date based on the measures that are being put in place,” Ms. Jarrett-Fletcher explained.

She said jurors who were scheduled to appear on April 15, have been rescheduled for May 11.

For his part, Chief Parish Court Judge, Chester Crooks, said though operations have been reduced, staff members are in place to deal with emergency matters.

Skip to content