Justice minister wants more timely completion of court casesMonday, October 25, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica— Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck, while noting improvements in case disposal rates, said he would like to see all matters brought before the courts completed within three years.
“I would like to see, in my lifetime, that cases can be tried within a reasonable time... I hope that before long, we will be able to (see) from start to finish, that all matters in the courts are dealt with within three years,” he said.
The minister was addressing the annual Assize Church Service to mark the opening session of the Michaelmas Term of the Home Circuit Court, which was broadcast virtually from the St Andrew Parish Church on Sunday.
Chuck said that while he is aware that close to 90 per cent of cases are completed within 12 months, “you do have many cases, representing 10 or 15 per cent, which could be over 1,000 cases, that stretch on for too long.”
He commended Chief Justice Bryan Sykes for issuing a strategic plan for the judiciary over the past year, of which one of the main areas of focus is the timely delivery of justice.
“Chief Justice, I want to thank you, all the members of the judiciary, all the stakeholders and urge that in the coming year, let us see what impact the justice system can have on the governance of our country,” he said.
For his part, Justice Sykes stressed that justice outcomes at all levels of the courts “must be consistently delivered in a timely fashion at the highest standard for which we are generally known.”
He said that work continues reforming the country's justice system, pointing out that improvements have been made recently, largely driven by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Despite the pandemic, we have been holding our own...and new efficiencies have occurred in the courts,” he said.
Justice Sykes noted that these improvements would not have been possible without the commitment of all judicial officers, members of staff in all the courts and the positive responses of the legal profession to keep the courts functioning effectively despite the challenges.
“We continue on the journey to achieve regional and global excellence,” he added.