Government will be turning its attention to the Magistrates’ Courts to concentrate its efforts on reducing the backlogs there in the coming months.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Dale Marshall, made that declaration yesterday on the heels of the swearing in of four new judges to the High Court, two temporary judges of the High Court and one Court of Appeal judge.
“We have to come up with some new responses to allow our Magistrates’ Courts to function more efficiently. Now that we have put things in place to solve matters in the High Court, we will turn our attention to the Magistrates’ Courts,” he disclosed.
Mr. Marshall said that those responses will include “swelling the ranks of the magistracy” and having magistrates who will work in shifts.
“We are going to have to look seriously at the question of evening courts as it relates to the magistracy. We have a small number of magistrates, but every year about 22,000 cases get filed in the Magistrates’ Courts,” he explained.
The Attorney General noted that Government had held fast to its commitment to increase the size of the judiciary in Barbados to improve the movement of cases through the judicial system.
The appointment and swearing in of the seven judges means that there will now be five criminal courts in operation at the High Court, with the two temporary judges being mandated to work on reducing the backlog.
In addition, he noted that Government was seeking to introduce new Criminal Procedure Rules which would bring predictability and enhance a judge’s ability to manage his or her criminal portfolio.
Justice of Appeal Rejendra Narine; Justices of the High Court, Christopher Birch, Cecil McCarthy, Cicely Chase, and Barry Carrington; and temporary Judges of the High Court, Laurie-Ann Smith-Bovell and Carlisle Greaves, each took the oath at Government House yesterday.