Last update: 04-Dec-2013 12:33 pm
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Toward judicial efficiency
The speech by Chief Justice Ivor Archie at the opening of the 2013/2014 law term has stirred debate and discussion about the administration of justice in T&T. Since taking office, the Chief Justice has made it his mission during these annual statements to offer ideas that break with the status quo in seeking to address the real world problems that judges and magistrates face.
Even those who might declare themselves outraged at his suggestion that the State should consider legalising the possession of small quantities of marijuana must admit that such a move would definitely free up a lot of court and police time. And if the idea of abolishing jury trials seems shocking, it’s worth noting that other Commonwealth countries have already made similar moves, and the Government has already proposed doing away with juries in certain cases.
There are certainly arguments both for and against the idea of jury trials, detractors noting that jurors are sometimes ill-equipped to decide on complex cases, sneering that jurors are people “too stupid to get out of jury duty,” while proponents argue that the collective wisdom of randomly selected jurors adds to the democracy of the process and forces lawyers to stick to clearly stated facts.
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