Justice Reform Unit starts consultations
THE Justice Reform Implementation Unit (JRIU) has embarked on a series of consultations with members of the legal fraternity, in response to a call from the chief justice for the full implementation of Criminal Case Management (CCM) in the country's courts.
The objectives of the consultations are to share proposals for CCM improvements proposed by the courts and its technical legal advisors; inform lawyers on justice reform and its impact on the courts; facilitate feedback from the bar on the criminal justice reform initiatives and to facilitate feedback from lawyers on related professional development strategies needed.
Chief Justice Zaila McCalla, in her presentation at a session last week, expressed confidence in the success that will result from the implementation of CCM, noting that it has worked in other jurisdictions and can also work for Jamaican courts.
"Criminal cases coming before the courts have increased over the years and as a result, it is necessary to combine our efforts to address the challenges this poses, in order to promote the interest of justice and inspire confidence in the system," the chief justice said.
Justice McCalla outlined that the collaborative efforts call for a more proactive approach by judges and more preparation by the Crown and the defence to address cases when they appear before the courts. These steps, she added, would address case backlog in the justice system.
Meanwhile, the chief justice reported that a steering committee, comprising representatives from the legal fraternity, has been established to brainstorm and identify ways in which the justice system can operate more effectively.
Also endorsing the sessions, director of the Justice Reform Implementation Unit, Donna Parchment Brown, said that the outcome of these consultations will inform policy decisions and legislation.
"The robust participation of legal professionals and other stakeholders is of great importance," she said.
The next consultation is scheduled for this Friday at the Hilton Rose Hall and Spa in Montego Bay, St James.
The JRIU, was established through funding from the Canadian International Development Agency, under the Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation Programme, and is facilitating the consultations as part of their mandate.