Tue | Jan 23, 2018

There should be no inferior court

Published:Thursday | June 9, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Effective February 24, 2016, Section 6 of the Parish Court Act provides that judges of Parish Courts shall enjoy the same immunity from liability as judges of the Supreme Court. Prior to this, a resident magistrate, renamed parish judge under the Act, if acting beyond his/her jurisdiction could have been sued for damages, whether or not any order the judge made was set aside (McKane v. Parnell, 7 JLR).

All Parish Courts are in law treated as inferior courts to Supreme Courts. Judges of Supreme Courts cannot be sued even when acting beyond jurisdiction, because there is a legal presumption that such judges are acting within jurisdiction.

The distinction between superior courts and inferior courts had its origin in the social fabric of society a few centuries ago and continues to be alive today, where there is a court for the rich and one for the poor - formerly known as the common people - when there was no democracy, which means, among other things, equality before the law.

In any democracy such as ours, where there is equality before the law, there should be no inferior court and all courts are to be treated as courts giving justice for all.

Supreme Courts have naturally been known and treated as courts for the rich and all rules of such courts, including the Civil Procedure Rules, are so complicated and attract far too much costs so that the majority of people have no access to such courts, leaving, by necessary implication, a few rich to trample upon the rights of the majority with impunity.

Without more, after stating that there should be just one court of justice for all, Rules of Court should be made simple enough for the majority to understand.

Owen S. Crosbie