Judicial Education Institute launched

Monday, October 23, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The capacity of judges and court staff is to be bolstered through access to training and sensitisation programmes at the newly established Judicial Education Institute of Jamaica (JEIJ).

JEIJ aims to strengthen the administration of justice in order to build public trust and confidence in the system.

The institute, which has already begun training, is operating out of the Supreme Court building on King Street in downtown Kingston until a more suitable home is identified.

Its establishment is as a result of the vision of Chief Justice, Zaila McCalla, who, with assistance from international, regional and local partners, has been working to ensure that the judiciary receives training in the absence of a formal framework.

Speaking at the official launch last Friday at The Jamaica Pegasus, McCalla said continuing education helps the judiciary to keep current with the changing times and demands being placed on the court.

“The need for judicial education has become more critical with the passing of new legislation and frequent amendments to existing (laws) in an effort to address new crimes and new ways of committing crimes that have become more sophisticated and complex with the advent of technology,” she said.  

Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck, welcomed the institute as another important development in the justice sector, noting that the sustainability of the system will largely rely on the effectiveness of the investment made in human capacity development.
“The institute provides the opportunity for a much more strategic focus on knowledge management, sensitisation and human resource development,” he said in remarks read by Chief Technical Director in the Justice Ministry, Grace Ann Stewart McFarlane.

He congratulated the Chief Justice and her team for the commitment to making the institute a reality.

For guest speaker, Director of Studies, Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute, Justice Adrian Saunders, the establishment of the institute is timely and is well placed to assist and advance the process of innovation needed in the sector.

“I think this JEIJ has excellent prospects ahead… . You already have a solid cadre of trained judicial educators… and you have a Chief Justice who is not only passionate about judicial education but has a solid track record to prove it,” he said.

In his remarks, Chargé d'Affaires at the United States Embassy, Eric Khant, said with the launch of the institute, Jamaica is embarking on a path that will lead to a “fluid and efficient justice system”.

He said it is expected to improve procedural fairness, better manage caseload and increase the overall efficiency of the courts in adjudicating criminal cases.

Among the objectives of the institute is to analyse the judiciary and support staff and identify areas that require strengthening through training. This includes topics to be studied and processes to be improved.

It also seeks to engage in research to identify and prepare programmes that respond to perceptions of judicial weakness as well as to evaluate their impact.

In addition, the institute aims to preserve public trust and confidence in the judiciary by ensuring that judges are impartial, competent, efficient and effective in the performance of their duties.

Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Vinette Graham-Allen, has been appointed as head of the institute.

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