JIS News

Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, has said that the Ministry is keen on establishing a Justice Square, and getting new courtroom space, in an attempt to effectively address the backlog of cases which currently exists.
Addressing the recent annual General Meeting of the Lay Magistrates Association of Jamaica, in Kingston, the Minister cited legislation, which had been passed in Parliament, to assist in reducing the backlog of cases in the courts, particularly criminal cases.
“What we are trying to do at the Ministry, is to ensure that we are getting new courtroom space,” she outlined.
According to Senator Lightbourne, the long term plan is to create a Justice Square, so “we are seeking to get the buildings around the Supreme Court.”
“In Kingston, we originally had two Gun Courts at the Supreme Court. We have now brought on two more Gun Courts in the Supreme Court, and we have increased our courtroom space by three. So, there will be four Gun Court rooms at the Supreme Court. In order to do this.we have rented three Caucus rooms at the Jamaica Conference Centre, and we will use those courtrooms as civil courtrooms,” the Minister informed.
She explained that where the Court of Appeal is located at the Public Building, West of King Street, the Ministry is seeking to get that building and to build a bridge to connect with the Supreme Court.
“Also, we are negotiating to get the old National Commercial Bank building at the corner of Barry Street and King Street, to be a part of the Supreme Court,” she added.
The Minister said that tenders are out for the old Accountant General’s office to be renovated, which would form part of the Justice Square.
Senator Lightbourne pointed out that with the increase in courtroom space, more Judges would be needed.
“The law was passed, and we have increased the Judges of the Supreme Court by eight, and provision is made in the law to get more. We will increase the Judges as we go along. We only have one Master…so the view is that we will increase that to four, and they will take on less contentious cases and leave the Judges free to do the trial cases,” she said.
Senator Lightbourne also noted that the Judges of the Court of Appeal, have been increased from seven to 10. According to the Minister, plans are far advanced to have Judicial complexes in parishes.
“Judicial complexes will have everything – Circuit Court, Family Court, Traffic Court, Coroner’s Court and rooms for Custodes. All the new complexes that we are building; hopefully, we will move into them next year,” the Minister said.

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