supremecourtsbarbadosA Barbadian lawyer whose clients are being impacted by delays in the court system is not jumping for joy in the wake of Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson’s a new directive aimed at clearing a longstanding backlog of High Court civil cases.

Reacting to the implementation of the new practice direction on backlog reduction/status hearings effective the beginning of last month, attorney-at-law Satcha Kissoon told Barbados TODAY he saw the new action as “a reasonable start to the process of addressing what has become a crisis situation in the administration of justice”.

But Kissoon was concerned not only about the court’s capacity to solve 19 years worth of cases, but its ability to simultaneously deal with other judicial matters at a time when litigants “are still appearing at court and not having their current matters dealt with”.

“My concern is whether we have enough judges to deal with 19 years of backlog and the amount of cases being filed under the new Civil Procedure Rules as well,” he said.

“These new rules require far more focused energies of all parties, especially the court, which is now directly responsible for the conduct of all steps in cases in Barbados. These new rules have timelines which have to be adhered to but are controlled by the court, as opposed to the old rules, which were mostly litigant driven.

“I do not however think this Practice Direction alone will do anything to resolve the problems as they presently stand. Litigants are still appearing at court and not having their current matters dealt with. We still continue to have daily occurrences of the court not having files when litigants appear at court,” he added.

Kissoon said the challenges were persisting, although attorneys and litigants “were promised that this would be a thing of the past with the new computer systems supposedly enabling judges to view the files digitally but this happens rarely, if at all”.

“Litigants also still attend court, for a hearing set far in advance, and are told that the judges are not there, with no previous notice to the parties and so must return for another day. This is unfair to the citizens who cannot get the matters dealt with,” he said.

“We need to be clear that there is a lot of work left to be done and whereas we have started, there is a lot left to be fixed which this current practice direction cannot achieve on its own.” (SC)

2 Responses to Skeptical

  1. Gabriel March 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    This seem to imply there is no justice in the nation and that is a travesty. We are percentage wise the most literate people in the world, with numerous retired Attorneys who served as AG’s or DPP’s, and we need to embrace these individuals and harness their legal minds to solve our problems.
    If we cannot get ourselves prepared for things of such small matters, though detailed, how can we expect to be prepared to address the might of the legal world in the global market place. Years ago the digital concept was set forward, and people were assured that it would function proficiently, indeed, persons were sent overseas to train. Am I now to assume it was all a hoax? Maybe just a vacation. This system functions extremely well in the Appellate Courts of the USA. Let us copy something good for once. Let us also acquire the services of luminaries like Elliott Mottley, David Simmons, Henry Forde, Louis Tull and all those others I have not mentioned. (the lack of “Sir” means no disrespect) The LAW governs the world, and people HAVE A RIGHT to justice.

  2. Darrell Wilson March 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    This is a very brave and honest statement by Kissoon. I hope he does not become a target for being so outspoken, which is usually what happens in such situations. Judges are compensated very well and should be made to complete thier work in a timely manner. Too much wastage for us Tax Payers!!!!


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