Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Chief Justice promises faster divorces

Published:Thursday | April 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett/Senior Gleaner Writer
Sykes

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, seeking to underscore that it won't be business as usual in the nation's court system, has announced that come September, it should take weeks, not years, to complete divorce cases and validate wills.

Sykes also announced plans to change the way cases are listed in the criminal courts as part of the strategy to reduce the backlog of cases crippling the courts. He said that under the new dispensation, assuming that all the paperwork is in order, it should take 16 weeks for the granting of a decree absolute and 12 weeks for granting probate or the validation of a will.

This was welcome news for one attorney who revealed yesterday that she has had clients wait for up to two years to complete their divorce. "You have to wait for the judges to comb through the documents, and sometimes they send them back to you for simple things like omitting the word 'the' in the name of a church," the attorney said.

However, according to Sykes, some of the attorneys are to be blamed for submitting applications with incomplete or incorrect information. In addition, he indicated that the absence of minimum standards for judges caused some attorneys to try and have their cases go before specific judges. The chief justice said that already, a committee has been established to create minimum standards for judges hearing divorce cases.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com