PHASE one of the multimillion-dollar upgrade of Justice Square is scheduled to be completed this month.
The phase includes the construction of seven courtrooms and judges' chambers on the old National Commercial Bank building across from the Supreme Court on King Street in downtown Kingston.
However, the facility may not be commissioned into service until next March.
Robert Rainford, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that a decision has been taken to delay occupancy until the scheduled completion of phase two.
The rationale, Rainford said, is that noise from the work would interrupt court proceedings.
"We are hoping for approval from the National Contracts Committee to vary the contract to start work on phase two," Rainford said.
Phase two is expected to cost $185 million and will include the refurbishing of the Supreme Court building and the addition of three courtrooms and judges' chambers.
Phase one, which started last year May, is being done at a cost of approximately $400 million.
The additional courtrooms are expected to help ease the backlog of cases — especially in criminal matters — now plaguing the High Court.
The expected expansion of the Court of Appeal, meanwhile, is awaiting "budgetary allocation", said Rainford.