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Mandatory six weeks for decisions in child custody cases

Published:Tuesday | January 24, 2017 | 1:39 PM

Jamaica’s Senate has approved legislation making it mandatory for courts to hand down decisions on matters pertaining to child custody cases within six weeks.

The Children (Guardianship and Custody) (Amendment) Act 2016 was passed in the Upper House on Friday.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson Smith, who piloted the bill, said the six-week timeframe pertains specifically to cases involving the wrongful removal or retention of children.

She argued that it is important that these cases are dealt with quickly due to their sensitive nature.

Senator Johnson Smith says discussions will be held with the Chief Justice on how these cases can be dealt with expeditiously, before the mandatory six-week timeframe is formally put in place.

The six-week deadline was among amendments recommended when the bill was passed in the Lower House in December 2016.

It was previously approved in the Senate in July last year.

The legislation will now go to the Governor General to be signed, after which it will be gazetted.