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Jul 25, 2017

Judges are coming to speed up court service

Since taking his seat on the bench as presiding judge of the high court, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has spoken of the existent backlog within the judiciary, particularly  in his address during the ceremonial opening of the Supreme Court.  Ironically, he too seems to be adding to that mounting number of undecided cases.

 

Isani Cayetano

“From a broader perspective, in the context of justice being delayed is the equivalent of justice being denied, isn’t this sort of contributory to the idea that you have cases, you go through the motion, you’re awaiting a judgment and the matter just languishes on a desk at the Supreme Court?”

 

Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

Michael Peyrefitte

“Yes.  That’s a valid point, justice delayed is justice denied.  Chief Justice Benjamin would be the first to tell you that, I mean it’s part of what he lives by.  So I have no doubt that he sees it not as a minor issue, he doesn’t see it as something that’s an annoyance to him.  He knows very well the importance of him being able to produce these judgments.  He acknowledges that.  There was a letter in fact, when he wrote to the bar originally when this came about, that he craved the indulgence of the bar.  So it’s not something that he has taken lightly, it’s not something that he is taking lightly and like I said, it has come to a real head, I think, this time and hopefully three months from now this matter would have been dealt with because indeed, I agree with you, and I think the Chief Justice would agree with you that any type of delay like this, it doesn’t look good and so he acknowledges that and I think he will, I am almost certain that he will fix that. We have two new judges that will be coming on very soon to add, to deal with this backlog that’s primarily in the criminal side of the justice system.  However though, in the civil cases, in the civil division, the cases occur quickly in court because most of the work is done out of court; affidavits, preparation.  The decisions take long, sometimes.  In the criminal side, the case itself takes long to come up, it takes longer when it’s ongoing but the decisions are quick because in criminal cases you get a quick guilty or not guilty verdict, for example.  So we need more judges, more bodies, to come into the criminal division and we are working on that.”

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