Wed | Feb 19, 2020

Courts crippled across the island

Published:Tuesday | February 13, 2018 | 12:01 AM

Yesterday, absent judges stalled court sessions right across Jamaica, as nearly 100 of them from the appellate, supreme and parish courts gathered at the Supreme Court in Kingston for a meeting.

Below are reports from several parishes across Jamaica:


Persons who turned up at the St Ann Parish Court where met with little information, as a spokesperson only ventured that matters would have been set for court as “today is a court day,” but they were adjourned for the day.


Judicial proceedings were halted at the Spanish Town, Linstead and Old Harbour parish courts as judges did not turn up for work.

At the Spanish Town Parish Court where proceedings in the circuit session were scheduled to continue, a number of persons expressed concern as they argued that the action by the judges would further delay their cases.

Prisoners who were taken to the courthouse were quickly taken back to the areas that they were being held.

But there was some support for the judges from members the legal fraternity in St Catherine, with one noted attorney-at-law telling The Gleaner that the judges have every right to use whatever tools available to them to press their case.

Dozens of cases were postponed at the Buff Bay, Bryan's Bay, and Manchioneal parish courts, as there were no judges to hear the matters. There was no word on when the cases would be heard.


While most workers at the Manchester Parish Court showed up, no matter was heard as all three judges, including the high court judge, were absent. 

According to a court administrator, the clerks spent the day rescheduling dates for persons who showed up for their matters to be heard.

"Only the Justice of the Peace showed up for petty sessions court, no one else showed up and we don't know what is happening," said one court worker.


All matters at the Westmoreland and St James Parish Courts were adjourned, as the judges from both jurisdictions were said to be in a meeting from early in the morning.
However, it was not disclosed how many matters from the courts were put off.
Attorney-at-law Lambert Johnson, who had matters in the Westmoreland court, said he was prepared to allow the judges as much time as they would need to complete their meeting.


Hearings at the St. Thomas Parish Court in Morant Bay and the Yallahs Courthouse were cancelled as a result of absent officials, after judges across the island attended a meeting in Kingston. 

Though the extent of the disruption at the local courthouses is uncertain, several complainants and defendants who had turned up for hearings had to return home.