Resident Magistrates to Become Parish Judges

Story Highlights

  • The Government is undertaking a number of reforms in the justice system, to include making Resident Magistrates Parish Judges, and creating a post for a Chief Executive Officer to manage the administrative functions of the Courts.
  • Under the Judicature (Resident Magistrates) (Amendment) Act 2015, which will be debated in the Senate next week, several new posts will be created in the Office of the Chief Justice, to better coordinate administration and legal affairs.
  • According to Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, a Court Administration Division will replace the current Court Management Services, with an Advisory Board, chaired by the Chief Justice.

The Government is undertaking a number of reforms in the justice system, to include making Resident Magistrates Parish Judges, and creating a post for a Chief Executive Officer to manage the administrative functions of the Courts.

Under the Judicature (Resident Magistrates) (Amendment) Act 2015, which will be debated in the Senate next week, several new posts will be created in the Office of the Chief Justice, to better coordinate administration and legal affairs.

According to Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, a Court Administration Division will replace the current Court Management Services, with an Advisory Board, chaired by the Chief Justice.

Judges will be the majority members, and there will be persons from the legal profession, and “from the wider society, to support governance of court administration,” the Minister added.

Senator Golding was delivering the keynote address at a forum looking at reforms being pursued by the Ministry, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in New Kingston, today (November 26).

The reforms, the Minister said, will “modernise the status of our Resident Magistrates, restyling them as Parish Judges, and bringing them under the Judiciary Act.”

With the new position, the Resident Magistrates will be placed under the Independent Commission of the Judiciary, “their salary and benefits” will fall under that body, and they will no longer be treated like regular civil servants,” Senator  Golding explained.

The Minister informed that an Executive Legal Officer will be assigned to assist the Chief Justice, while there will be a Chief Parish Judge, to provide administrative oversight for the Parish Judges. The Chief Parish Judge will also have an Executive Legal Officer.

Senator Golding told his audience that a new corporate profile and organisational structure has been developed to guide the transformation in the Ministry.

The Ministry is being supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development in Canada, to push the reforms, under the programme called the Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST).

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