The right to trial by jury for thousands of offences would be scrapped under plans being considered by ministers, The Times has learnt. The measure is being examined for inclusion in a White Paper next month aimed at learning the lessons of the riots last year. It would mean up to 70,000 cases a year, most of them for minor theft, being heard by magistrates rather than by a judge and jury in Crown Court. Eighty per cent of theft trials involve values of less than £200 – The London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association
CJ Gibson has quickly ‘acclimated’ to being back home. He is one of the prominent persons frequently featured in the local media and he seems very comfortable with the attention. This can be good or bad depending on ones perspective. Let us hope he is not sucked into being one of the boys.
One of the problems which has been identified by CJ Gibson on ascending office is the strain a heavy backlog of cases continue to have the effect of compromising the delivery of justice. Several suggestions to improve efficiency in the Courts have been made although CJ Gibson seems inclined to implement Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as the primary strategy. BU supports the CJ in his quest to have ADR implemented but such an approach will not resolve the issue on its own.
In BU’s previous blog about Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) most if not all of the comments shared were favourable to its quick implementation. We cannot repeat enough times how lamentable it is that – to quote CJ Gibson – ‘our Courts are in crisis’ and ADR was not introduced under the former CJ as one tactic to assist with the efficient handling of the case backlog in our Courts. Nevertheless for his effort Sir David Simmons was rewarded the obligatory Knighthood.
Whilst the OECS Practice Directions exist for Barbados to follow – and it seems ‘strange’ that we should be following the OECS on this matter in much the same way that as a jurisdiction it has already achieved CAT 1 status contrasted with Barbados’ Cat II – there is merit to the CJ advocating for expanding ADR to include family law matters. Anyone who has observed how family matters are dealt with by the Barbados Courts is driven to be very sympathetic to the parties on both sides of the matter. Most oft than not the principals are from the lower rung of society with few options available to them except to wait on our Courts to give currency to the view that justice delayed is justice denied.
Barbados’ new Chief Justice, Marston Gibson, has admitted that the Barbados courts are in crisis. In a speech to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday, he stated, “I am very conscious of the fact that our courts are in crisis and I am conscious of the fact that we need to do something about it.” .
One of the courses the CJ intimated that he would follow is one long espoused by BU, that of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). BU is also happy to read of the hearty support which President of the BAR Andrew Pilgrim has given to his Lordship’s approach.
The CJ is looking at the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Practice Directions. BU assumes that the CJ refers to the Rules contained here.