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Justice system support facilities need improvement - Soutar

Published:Friday | April 27, 2012 | 12:00 AM

ATTORNEY-AT-LAW GEORGE Soutar, president of the Advocates' Association of Jamaica, has said legislative changes and other recent measures were not likely to succeed in reducing the backlog of cases in the courts unless they were accompanied by improvements in support facilities.

Soutar made the remarks this month while addressing guests at a cocktail party at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.

Minister of Justice Mark Golding and Attorney General Patrick Atkinson were special guests.

Commenting further on the justice system, Soutar said the Advocates' Association was prepared to assist with measures that would help to improve the administration of justice. He referred to the backlog of cases in the courts and acknowledged that the introduction of case management and dispute-resolution procedures were helping, "but are not likely to achieve the objectives, unless accompanied by improvements in the support facilities, like photocopying machines".

Location issues

Soutar informed the minister of the problems attorneys had to find parking space while attending the Corporate Resident Magistrate's Court at Half-Way Tree. He said some courthouses were located in areas where the noise from traffic seriously affected the proceedings.

In response, the minister said he understood the problems. He disclosed that funds were limited and suggested that other possible solutions, which did not involve funds from Government, should be explored. The minister said help from the private sector and stakeholders like attorneys should be looked at as part of the solution.

The attorney general also acknowledged the problems in the administration of justice and pointed out that funds were needed to effect improvement.