Progress made in clearing court backlog – Justice Sykes
Jamaica’s courts continue to make progress in clearing case backlogs, says Chief Justice Bryan Sykes.
In the Court of Appeal, for every 100 cases that come in, approximately 111 cases are disposed of, he noted.
“According to the statisticians, if you maintain that for about three years, then that becomes your new baseline from which you can push on for greater efficiency,” Sykes said.
He was addressing Monday’s (January 8) swearing-in ceremony for the appointment of judges to higher office, held at King’s House.
Noting that 2023 was a “reasonable year for the judiciary”, Justice Sykes said the parish courts confirmed their backlog-free status “but that there is still room for improvement because, ultimately, persons want their matters disposed of in the shortest possible time”.
Sykes said the data indicate that the parish court sits an average three hours out of a maximum of five hours per day, which means that there are two hours that are underutilised, and cases can be brought forward to fill that gap.
As it relates to the Supreme Court, Sykes said “much work needs to be done there”.
“On average, over the last five years we take in 13,420 cases per year and disposed of only 8,765, so that tells you that there is a backlog being carried forward and it gets worse with each passing year,” he pointed out.
The Chief Justice said a structural review of the Supreme Court’s civil registry will commence this month and is expected to be completed before the end of the term, to increase efficiency.
“It will be sent to the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service for the structure to be approved and then we’ll get the go ahead now to begin the recruitment of the posts that will be created there,” Sykes said.