Dear Mr Gibson,
Now that it is confirmed that you are to be the new Chief Justice of Barbados, the BU family has some questions to put to you. These questions are not political in nature, but solely about the judicial system which you are to head.
- At present, when counsel wishes to commence proceedings or serve documents such as statements of defense, affidavits etc., it is required that they have these documents sworn at the Registry, obtain certified copies and then serve these by personal service on the other parties, either personally or on their counsel. Do you anticipate streamlining this by, perhaps, allowing such documents to be sworn before any attorney-at-law licensed to practice in Barbados, filing copies with the Court/Registry and then effecting service on the other parties by mail or fax, using an affidavit of service sworn by the person who posted the documents/sent the fax, as back-up?
- At present, small claims matters are cumbersome. Do you anticipate introducing an internet system by which these matters can be filed and argued and, only where necessary, involve appearances? In other words, simplify the process of small claims so that litigants in these will not be disadvantaged if they choose to represent themselves, rather than incurring the (sometimes greater than the claim) expense of being represented by counsel?
- It is clear that the case management system does not work. What changes do you anticipate introducing in case management?
- There is a considerable back-log of cases before the courts (both civil and criminal). How do you propose to get rid of this back-log in general terms?
- There are many cases that have remained part-heard for years. The usual excuse is that the judge has been assigned to assizes or has too heavy a case load. What measures do you propose to introduce to solve this problem?
A Dispassionate Clarification On The Appointment Of Chief Justice Designate Marston Gibson
- Some judges exceed the timeline of 6 months within which to render judgment, sometimes by as long as three years and more. Is this a matter that you propose to address aggressively and what measures do you propose to take? What measures will be put in place to deal with habitually recalcitrant judges?
- Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is not used much in Barbados at present. How do you propose to bring ADR to the attention of litigants as a viable alternative to a full court procedure? Will there be a system of appointment or licensing by the courts for arbitrators? Will the decisions by these arbitrators be inspected by the courts from time to time to ensure that they meet the standards of justice that the public has the right to expect?
- There have been many justifiable complaints against certain counsel by their clients. In some cases, these complaints have been upheld. Yet, the counsel concerned have continued their practice as if nothing has happened. What measures do you propose to introduce to deal with the professional standards of counsel and to impel the Barbados Bar Association to take more aggressive action?
We hope that you will find it possible to respond to some of these questions at least. Your appointment has raised the expectations of many people in Barbados that a moribund justice system will be resuscitated under your leadership. However, we do understand that these are early days and you may require time to settle into the job. Nonetheless, we would be grateful for any assurances and reassurances you can give us that we will once again enjoy an effective judicial system.
@checkit-out. You are, of course, quite correct as to the meaning of puisne in the original Norman French. However, in judicial terms, it means an ordinary judge and is used to distinguish such a judge from the head of the court. I still think that your reservations are misplaced. However, if I did not believe that Mr Gibson already meets the criteria for his appointment, I would agree with you and Mr Best.
Bravo Tony Best. This is the first article where someone in the press has explicitly said that the law should be amended to accommodate the CJ designate. All the other opinion pieces as well as the articles which address this issue focus on the letter of the law and the judgment of others who believe that this technical requirement is sacrosanct. One is led to believe that the framers of this legislation were imbued with unimpeachable knowledge which rendered their reasoning above reproach.
Mr. Arthur and Mr. Marshall have both said that they are opposed to any legislation which would amend this requirement, they should tell us why they oppose it and explain how Barbadian Civil Society will be harmed, they should explain how the Judiciary will be irreparably damaged if this law is amended. They should tell us why they prefer the status quo.
Let me add to what Mr. Best said about some Bajans in the “Diaspora”. Barbados is a country without any natural resource save the brain matter of some of its native sons. If some of these “sons” decide to cast their eyes beyond its shores to further their career/.education or experience that absence should not be held against them if they are to be considered for a position in the land of their birth.
The next time that Mr. Arthur shows his face at a gathering in New York, London or Toronto informing the audience that their skills (and money) are required to help build their homeland don’t be surprised if someone in the crowd asks him if he considers us full citizens or citizens of “his” convenience.
Barbados is a country without any natural resource save the brain matter of some of its native sons.
…. and yet its native sons (… and daughters) could get caught out on so simple and yet so serious a matter and look like a bunch of clowns!!!!
God help Barbados
@ Sargeant, I am sure you have noticed that Overseas Bajans are still sending money and barrels to their families in Barbados but most are now choosing to retire overseas.
It is sad that instead of focusing on the accomplishments of Marston Gibsons some are doing everything they can to keep him out of Barbados.
Drug lords, thieves and vagabonds are more welcome to some in Barbados because they provide cash flow to defense lawyers.
Breaking news in Bimshire.
nearly $1/2 million was in the account However, la di la di la, a mere $143 000 was left in the account.
Next hot topic on BU.
Also read “Thankful for a second chance”.
@Sargeant | January 29, 2011 at 10:10 PM
@Hants | January 30, 2011 at 12:14 AM
Both, well said.
There is a very interesting matter developing, it has to do with Al Barack. On reading the article in the Barbados Today newspaper, I smiled at the fact that this same thing was told to me a few days ago and I laughed it off, since I thought that the matter had exhausted all it’s local avenues, and this was confirmed to me on this BU blog. However, it seems this matter is back in court, could it be that that is why this government wants to have this new C.J in place immediately ? and what will be his ruling on this matter? Can we take the SUPREME judgement from this court serious if our government is playing politics with such judgement?