Monday, December 29, 2008

Institutional strengthening of judiciary in reform strategy

Kaieteur News news item, Saturday 27 December 2008

Institutional strengthening of judiciary in reform strategy
December 27, 2008 | By knews |
Filed Under News

The Justice Sector Reform Strategy includes a plan for institutional
strengthening of the judiciary.
This newspaper understands that the constitution guarantees the Judiciary's
independence in the exercise of its functions.
A key aspect of the reform will be to improve the system for the control of
public expenditure by the Judiciary.
Also, the new budgeting process will ensure that judicial finances are
protected from arbitrary political manipulation, while recognising the
responsibility of Government and Parliament for prudent management of public
Additionally, reform measures will address many of the human resource
"Measures will be taken to strengthen the management, administration and
capacity of the Judiciary including the introducing of enhanced
accountability for Judges' and Magistrates' performance including clear time
standards for case dispositions."
The strategy stated that this will need to be backed up by legislation in
order to give effect to the Constitutional provision enabling Judges to be
removed for failing to give timely decisions.
There will also be the strengthening of case management systems initially by
the introduction of a simple data bases in the High Court and Magistrates
Courts managed by a trained case management officer and enhanced Judicial
training for the induction and on-going training of Judges and Magistrates
including mentoring and refresher courses on practical issues such as
sentencing and summing up.
The strategy also includes a plan for the Court of Appeal. It states that
the backlog that exists in the Court of Appeal will be eliminated speedily,
through the setting of targets for the delivery of judgments.
In addition, it stated, measures will be taken to simplify current appeal
procedures including eliminating the need to copy all the notes of evidence
on appeal against sentence or on a point of law; requiring attorneys to make
and keep written note of a judgments delivered in open court or chambers,
thus dispensing with need for judge to communicate the reasons for their
decision to the Court of Appeal.
"Once judgment in a civil case has been awarded, in order to conclude the
case satisfactorily, it must be executed. Current methods of execution
including insolvency procedures, and performance of the Marshall's
Department, will be reviewed, in the light of international best practice.
Where necessary the review will be followed up by administrative and
legislative reform."

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