New appeal court building opens
President of the Court of Appeal Justice Dennis Morrison is hoping that the court will reach its full complement in less than two years.
Morrison made the declaration while speaking at the official opening of the newly expanded Court of Appeal building in downtown Kingston this morning.
“The plan is that during the course of 2019 steps will be taken to recruit a further three judges of appeal with a view to bringing the court up to its full complement of 12 judges, that is the president and 12 judges of appeal by the beginning of 2020.”
He pointed out that three judges have been identified by the Judicial Service Commission for recommendation to the Governor-General to be appointed as Court of Appeal judges come 2019.
Justice Minister Delroy Chuck, who was also at the ceremony, said that the new facility will provide a comfortable space for all users of the court.
He further said that with the increased capacity, the court should be able to deliver justice more efficiently.
“We hope that in time we will have at least three panels sitting and maybe more as the cases come along so that the backlog which is developing in the Court of Appeal can be reduced significantly,” Chuck said.
The expansion of the Court of Appeal building, which began in April, saw a section of the property which once housed the offices of the Accountant General’s Department, being transformed into three new courtrooms, 14 judges’ chambers, a library, three judges’ lounges and an expanded registry.
The justice minister indicated that half a billion dollars will be requested in the next fiscal year to facilitate an upgrading of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, which is located on the same complex.
The project was undertaken at a cost of $846 million.