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Jan 11, 2021

G.O.B. Adds Further Grounds for Removal of Judges

…from a motion for good governance from elected officials to a constitutional amendment to expand the grounds for removal of Supreme Court judges.  For years, there has been a backlog of judgments within the judiciary. It is not a situation unique to Belize but common in many of the Caribbean nations where the judiciary is short-staffed and has a limited budget. Under the current laws, Supreme Court Justices and Justices of the Appeal are not given a timeline when they need to hand down written judgments. The Briceño wants to change that by introducing an amendment to the Belize Constitution and the Time Limit for Judicial Decisions Bill of 2020.

 

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Technology

“This constitution amendment bill seeks to amend section ninety-eight of the Belize Constitution by adding two grounds for the removal of a judge of the Supreme Court. Presently there are two existing grounds misbehaviour and inability. The first addition ground is where a judge has persistently failed, past tense, to give written decisions. The second ground is similar to the first, but it is tied to another bill which we are also introducing today called the time limit for judicial decision bill and this ground covers where a judge persistently fails, present and future tense, to give written decisions as prescribe by the National Assembly in that new time limit bill. Section one zero two of the constitution is also being amended to incorporate on the same court Justice of the Appeal of the Appeal Court.  The delay the delivery of judgment has become a perennial problem in the administration of justice in Belize which has significantly impacted litigants and has weakened confidence of the public in the judiciary.  Specifically the bill prescribes the time limit for delivery of judgment for one hundred and twenty days for the conclusion of a trial or the hearing of the appeal. The bull establishes for a mechanism for a judge to apply to the Judicial and Legal Services Commission for an extension of time to deliver of time to delivery of time where he or she has good reasons or the where the reason are limited to those enumerate in the bill.”


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