Court goes digital
Jamaicans anticipating court-approved maintenance payments can now have the sum transferred totheir bank accounts.

THE Court Administration Division (CAD) is improving the handling of payments at the Supreme Court, allowing digital collection of court-approved payments and reimbursements.

An officer with the CAD told the Jamaica Observer, “Direct deposit facilitates payment for maintenance to bank accounts and can also be used for reimbursement for fines such as bails. If the court has ordered that you are to receive maintenance, you can receive it in this manner. Usually, they would come in and collect a check. We are no longer encouraging that.”

The individuals responsible for making payment can also now use a POS system at the court. Those seeking reimbursement for bail payments can also have the funds sent to their accounts. For such transfers the appropriate forms have to be filled out.

On visiting the Supreme Court's website, a pop-up notice advises of the availability of various digital options for funds transfer.

The push for digitisation of funds transfer is only a small segment of the Court Management System's overall digitisation push. In a report entitled 'Courting Excellence: the Strategic Plan for the Jamaican Judiciary 2019-2023', it is outlined how the Judiciary arm of Government intends to improve the physical conditions of court buildings and upgrade the technology infrastructure.

The initiatives aim to improve access to information, enhancing case flow management, scheduling of court dates and developing digital files and court lists.

The CAD, which has updated the payment system, is run by a director who has accounting officer status, making him/her answerable to Parliament for the accounting functions of the organisation.

The director reports to the chief justice of Jamaica, who is the head of the Judiciary and to Parliament in respect of accounting matters.

CAD is a court services organisation that was set up in August 2009 by the Government of Jamaica, through the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and in collaboration with the Public Sector Modernization Division (PSMD), Cabinet Office.

According to the strategic report, the agency's establishment is designed to enable the Judiciary and the courts to have greater input in budgetary decisions and execution of activities surrounding the operations of the courts. The organisation is responsible for performing a range of court-related administrative services.

Tricia Cameron-Anglin, principal executive officer in the strategic report, stated: “CMS recognises that there are tremendous opportunities for improving the delivery of court services in Jamaica. This strategic business plan outlines the actions required to preserve the successes of the Judiciary and, where appropriate, make changes aimed at bringing about improvements.”

The Supreme Court itself has three divisions: civil, criminal and commercial (revenue) and is presided over by a chief justice.

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