The courts in Barbados are a little backed-up right now, but the Chief Justice has the answer – Toss Out Cases Without Hearing Them!
Chief Justice Sir David Simmons is concerned about the backlog of both criminal and civil cases before the courts in Barbados. While we understand the need for the Chief Justice to occasionally step in and
kick some bu… “politely prod the system” where lawyers are dragging their feet, we are very nervous about the wholesale tossing of cases as a method of reducing the backlog.
From The Nation News (link here)…
…Phase I of the Backlog Reduction Project involving civil cases in the system since 1990, had 66 of the 127 cases retired. Another 18 cases were listed for trial while in the remaining 43 cases, adjournments were sought.
(Chief Justice Sir David Simmons) warned attorneys that during the second phase of the project for cases from 1990-2005 where only documents had been filed, a notice would be published in the newspapers after which they would dispose of the cases.
Which Civil Cases Will Be Tossed By Sir David?
The wheels of justice often turn very slowly – with civil cases sometimes taking years to reach trial. But is it a good idea to toss older cases simply because the courts do not have enough resources, physical space, judges and support staff?
The rule of law and an independent judiciary are probably the most important foundations that we have – because without them, nothing else can work.
We have said it before, and we will say it again – whatever the professional qualifications, wisdom and personal integrity of Chief Justice Sir David Simmons, it looks bad that he was a powerful member of the ruling Government one day, and then Chief Justice immediately thereafter.
Please understand that I am in no way suggesting that Sir David will not perform his duties in an unbiased and professional manner. What I am saying is that Sir David’s appointment lacked the appearance of impartial appointment. How can a man be a powerful member of government on one day, and then be expected to judge cases involving his old government friends the next day?
It just looks bad.
So Chief Justice Sir David Simmons is already operating under a professional handicap. With this in mind, we had all better hope that none of the cases thrown out by Sir David during this “cleanup” in any way involve lawsuits against the government.
It would just look bad – but I sense that very few people in the Barbaods Government are aware of the important concept that not only must justice be done – it must also be seen to be done.