Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Parish court judges to lead delivery of legal services to Jamaicans

Published:Wednesday | September 5, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Chief Justice Bryan Sykes.

Parish judges are to become active managers and lead the delivery of legal services for the parishes in which they serve, as part of the reform of the court system, according to Chief Justice Bryan Sykes.

Speaking at a Parish Court Judges Training Course on managing courts at Jewel Paradise Cove hotel in Runaway Bay, St Ann, on Saturday, Sykes said the change is part of a deliberate process which would see parish court judges develop a plan for the delivery of legal services for the parish in which they are located.

He said the move would mark the first time in the country's history that a strategic plan for the judiciary would be developed.

Part of the objectives of the three-day course, held Friday to Sunday, was to assist the judges to draft and develop case-flow management plans and encourage collective action by the convening and managing Parish Case Management Committees.

INCREASED ACCOUNTABILITY

"What that really means is that we're now increasing our level of accountability to the people of Jamaica by saying, this is what the judiciary is committed to do," he pointed out.

"The plan needs to say what it is that we intend to do by when, and how will people know whether or not we are getting there.

"So it means increased level of scrutiny, it means increased level of criticism, but it also creates an opportunity for increased praise if we do the things that we commit to do."

The course attracted more than 20 participants and focused on several other objectives. These include increasing the capacity of Parish Court judges to engage mechanisms to bring cases to conclusion in a timely manner, to create a space for Parish Court judges to understand the obstacles to effective case-flow management, and to increase confidence in dealing with case management issues.

In February, court staff from across Jamaica, clerks, deputy clerks, assistant clerks, case progression officers, data-entry clerks, court administrators, among others, took part in a two-day training course at the same venue as part of the reform of the justice system.

Justice Sykes said over the next few weeks there will be increased activities coming through the Court Management Services, which coordinated the three-day training course in association with the Judicial Education Institute of Jamaica and the Pan American Development Foundation.

Carl Gilchrist