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Archie lays out delivery timetable
Chief Justice Ivor Archie says the judiciary has been able to improve the delivery of justice under his tenure, where previously there were matters awaiting determination for as many as ten years, the more recent picture is one in which any matter before the court for more than three years is an exception. In a statement issued yesterday, Archie referred to the latest statistics from the Court of Appeal which show there are 37 matters awaiting decisions, with 18 of these for more than one year.
Two of the 18 have to be rescheduled because of the death of Justice Wendell Kangaloo. Of the remaining 16, Archie is a part of the panel in five matters. Notices have already been issued informing the parties that judgment will be delivered in four of them next Wednesday, including the cases of Lester Pitman and Gerard Wilson. In addition, a further two of those matters will also be delivered before December 20.
Of the 18 matters reserved for judgment in 2013, notices have been issued to the parties that decisions in nine of them will be delivered on or before December 18. In summary, therefore, 16 reserved decisions will be given before December 20, 2013, he said.
“The task of delivering judgments in a timely manner presents different challenges in the Court of Appeal when compared to the High Court. Even though one judge may be designated to produce a draft decision, all three must collaborate and come collectively to a decision,” the statement said.
Statistics previously published in the judiciary’s 2013 annual report and available on the judiciary’s Web site, show that the number of civil appeals disposed of (excluding non-compliance matters) rose by more than 150 per cent from 82 in 2007-2008, to 217 in 2012-2013. The current chief justice assumed office in 2008. During the same period, the clearance rate (i.e. the ratio of matters disposed of in a given year to matters filed) rose from 0.6 to 1.05 per cent. At Monday’s meeting of judges and masters it was agreed:
• By March 31, 2014, all decisions outstanding for more than 12 months at that date will be delivered
• By July 30, 2014, all decisions outstanding for more than six months at that date will be delivered
Court of Appeal and High Court judges and masters will meet again in January 2014 to discuss further, and implement measures to deal systematically with the issue of delay in the delivery of judgments, with further meetings scheduled for March and July 2014 to monitor progress.
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