New judges for Court of Appeal
The Court of Appeal is to employ additional judges and implement an electronic file-management system as part of its efforts to speed up matters before the judiciary this term.
Justice C. Dennis Morrison made the announcement on Monday, during a special sitting to mark the start of the Michaelmas Term.
At least 107 matters are listed for the Michaelmas Term comprising applications, motions and appeals.
"A special project is being undertaken by the Court of Appeal to reduce the number of cases that are currently before the court. This is among several initiatives to impact the court in a major way this term," Morrison told the sitting attended by members of the Bar, as well as students of the Norman Manley Law School.
"In order to facilitate this project, one division of the court will sit each week, with the exception of the week of the court's sitting in Hanover in December. During this time, the judges of appeal who are not sitting will be writing judgments," he added, noting that the delays present inconveniences for members of the public.
Justice Morrison said the legislation provided for 12 judges, including the president, and that with the expansion, the court can increase its number by six new judges.
He indicated also that the plan is to fill three of the positions by early 2019 and the remaining three by the end of that year. The president said this was to avoid a great shock to the system administratively.
Morrison, in the meantime, disclosed that the first phase of the expansion of the Court of Appeal has been completed, and that the second is expected to be completed by year end.
He urged members of the Bar Association to familiarise themselves with the practice directions online. They are aimed at guiding the court procedures to bolster efficiency, he said.
Lawyers were also asked to file their submissions in a timely manner in order to afford the judges adequate time to prepare, and urged continued understanding and cooperation during the period that the court will operate in two spaces.