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More courtrooms to be provided

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Expansion work on the Public West Building in downtown Kingston, which houses the Court of Appeal and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, is on track. This will result in the provision of additional courtrooms to assist in reducing the backlog of cases.

A contract to facilitate the work was signed recently at the Ministry of Justice offices on Constant Spring Road in Kingston.

The scope of work includes renovation of existing facilities on the first and second floor to facilitate two lounges, three courtrooms and 13 judges' chambers.

The eight-month contract will also see the renovation of the registry and the circulation tower (elevator shaft and stairwell).

In his remarks, Justice Minister, Delroy Chuck, said expansion of the Court of Appeal is an important target in the Justice Reform Implementation Plan.

Noting that there is a backlog of over 1,400 cases, the minister said another measure to create greater efficiency in the justice system is the installation of audiovisual equipment in the courts during the 2018/19 fiscal year to assist in faster disposal of cases.

“Over the past couple of years, the backlog of cases in the Court of Appeal has been increasing due to the sheer (lack) of manpower. Seven judges just cannot manage the bulk of cases which are coming to the Court of Appeal. Within two years, by 2020, it is my great hope that backlog will not be an issue in the Court of Appeal. We want to ensure that the facilities are there and that the opportunity is there, so that the cases can be dealt with,” he said.

Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Carol Palmer, said the infrastructure development work will place the Court of Appeal in a position to address the backlog of cases and strengthen the justice system.

“The ministry sees the infrastructure works that are being done to improve the built environment of justice institutions as an indispensable part of the overall objective to increase access to justice services, support the timely dispensation of justice and to create a sound court infrastructure,” she said.

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