Tue | Sep 18, 2018

Chuck not backing down in contention with judges

Published:Tuesday | September 27, 2016 | 12:00 AMBarbara Gayle

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck says he is not seeking to interfere with the independence of the judiciary, but is insisting that he will not back down from calls for judges to hand down judgments expeditiously, as litigants should not take years to know the outcome of cases.

Chuck was responding to reports that Supreme Court judges are upset with him for some of the pronouncements he has been making, and met yesterday to discuss issues affecting their performance.

Up to press time, there was no word on the outcome of the meeting.

"Let it never be said that I am interfering with the role of the judges or their independence," he told The Gleaner yesterday.

"When I urge them (judges) to deliver judgments within the six-month time frame, it is because litigants are quarrelling with me about the time it takes to get judgments out of the court and they believe I have some control over the judges, but I don't," he said.

However, Chuck said he could see no reason why the international average of 30 days to three months for delivery of judgments could not be done in Jamaica.

He said, however, that he was only urging that judgments be delivered within six months.

The minister pointed out that he had just been in office for seven months and the problems existed long before, but he was "doing his best" to fix them.

Meanwhile, Chuck said some of the problems judges complain about come under the jurisdiction of the Court Management Services.