JPs urged to embrace training for increased roles in the justice system
Justices of the Peace (JPs) will be called on to play greater roles in the justice system, and it is for this reason Chief Justice, Brian Sykes is encouraging them to ensure they embrace every training opportunities available to them.
Sykes made the call during his address at the Clarendon Lay Magistrates' Chapter Awards Function and Dinner held last Saturday, at Wembley Centre of Excellence in Hayes.
"It is through training that you will be prepared to deal with the many things that you will be asked to do and with proper training; you will be ideally placed in your communities to make an even more significant impact in the process of uniting Jamaica through justice and peace," he said.
With the aim being to reduce the backlog of cases in the court system and pushing for less waiting time for cases to be tried, Sykes said, assigning more responsibilities to JPs will serve to resolve conflicts at an early stage and reduce the number of cases brought before the courts for resolution.
Pointing to the evolving roles of JPs, he said the lay magistrates are a part of that development and change.
Sykes revealed that plans are now afoot to have matters in traffic courts that are being dealt with by parish court judges, be transferred to the lay magistrate court with the name being changed from petty sessions court to lay magistrate court.
"It is a recognition of the vital role that you have played and continue to play and a recognition of the confidence the government has placed in you as persons who are now going to take on the responsibility of trying these offences," he said to the roomful of JPs who attended from different sections of the parish.
During his address, Sykes also revealed that come July, the newly-refurbished Chapelton courthouse which he described as being "underutilised", will have more sittings with two additional days added to its roster.
At the dinner, six justices of the peace were awarded for exemplary service to their community. They are Richard Azan, Member of Parliament for North West Clarendon; Albert Jackson, Vincent Tulloch, Gertude Porter, Benjamin Beale and Michael Ferguson.