Judges urged to expedite non-contentious matters

JUSTICE Minister Delroy Chuck is urging judges to expedite non-contentious matters such as probates, divorces and restrictive covenants.

He made the call in his address to members of the judiciary during the Judiciary of Jamaica’s annual Strategic Management Retreat, which began on Monday.

The justice minister emphasised that delayed decisions in these matters may well be impeding billions of dollars in projects and assets. He further pointed out that disputes that await decisions hold up the lives of many litigants and urged the judges to complete their cases in a timely manner.

While acknowledging the need for further improvements, Chuck commended the judges for the significant progress that has occurred across the justice sector. He highlighted the backlog reduction programme where recent statistics pointed to a three per cent backlog in cases in the parish courts.

The minister also pointed out that with increased compensation across the public sector there is an urgent requirement for increased productivity, otherwise inflation could erode the improved compensation.

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, meanwhile, at the same time, said, “The strategic retreat for the judiciary is important as it allows us to assess our performance and to plan strategically for the years ahead”.

He added: “Since we embarked on this process, one of the things we have learnt is that like Lord Kelvin said, ‘if you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it’. The strategic planning process has allowed us to measure and set objective targets in relation to backlog reduction, hearing date certainty, the general administration of justice and service delivery in the courts; we have seen significant improvements in all these areas.”