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Fresh calls for improved funding to justice system

Thursday, April 24, 2014    

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JUSTICE Lloyd Hibbert has reiterated the call for a greater level of financing for the justice sector.

Hibbert, who was speaking at yesterday's opening of the Easter Term of the Home Circuit Court yesterday, was joined in his call for more resources by Donovan Walker, the new president of the Jamaican Bar Association.

In outlining the importance of the justice system to functioning of the society, Hibbert said, among other things, that without an effective system of justice there will be "no proper financial sector", and that no one will want to invest in the country.

Hibbert noted the fact that the conversion of the old National Commercial Bank building into an extension of the Supreme Court was yet to be completed, even though work had been going on for some years.

"It has been taking a long time...," he said.

He said he was aware of the argument that money was limited, but argued that the "powers that be" should give the necessary financial support to the justice system, as is the case in other quarters, "to ensure that it operates as it should".

Meanwhile Walker, who spoke on behalf of the members of the private bar, noted that only $1 billion has been allocated from the more than $500-billion budget to the Ministry of Justice.

Of the $1 billion, Walker lamented, only $32 million was allocated to capital expenditure for the court for the year.

Walker noted, too, that $64 million has been allocated to legal aid. He said that $41 million of that sum is for the payment to attorneys while $15 million is to go towards the payment of outstanding sums owed to lawyers.

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