Sat | Oct 16, 2021

Court of Appeal working to reduce backlog

Published:Wednesday | September 22, 2021 | 12:11 AM

President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Patrick Brooks, says there are concentrated efforts to reduce the backlog of 70 reserved cases.

He disclosed that of the 70 reserved cases, one dated back to 2018, and seven from the year 2019. “Thirty of the 70 cases are from 2020 and those are steadily being reduced,” he also pointed out.

Brooks noted that since the standard stated period to reserve cases is six months, the Court of Appeal will seek to “produce more oral judgments and memoranda of reasons for judgment” as one method of reducing the increase in reserved cases.

“Another method is to place some simpler cases on a fast-track system, to allow for a quicker throughput and less reserved judgments,” he added.

He was giving the opening remarks during the Special Sitting of the Court of Appeal held virtually on Monday, to mark the start of the Michaelmas term (September to December 2021).

“The statistics show that this court has delivered about the same number of judgments for the year, so far, as we did last year. We have, however, disposed of less appeals than we did last year,” he said.

Against that backdrop, Brooks noted that the court will continue to improve its efforts to serve the public.

Meanwhile, he disclosed that in the light of social-distancing protocols, the court had technological challenges such as low bandwidth, problems with telephone connections, inadequate cameras, and microphone systems. “We as a court have soldiered on, as everyone else, and doing our best in the situation.”

According to Brooks, since the onset of the global pandemic, “almost all hearings have been by the virtual platform”.