Case Clearing In Barbados Courts Makes Me Nervous

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.


Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Politics & Corruption

14 responses to “Case Clearing In Barbados Courts Makes Me Nervous

  1. John

    I read the article yesterday and what also struck me was that there is a record number of criminal cases this time around.

    Weren’t we told by the Commissioner of Police that crime was falling?

    Maybe there is a simple explanation.

  2. Jane

    One wonders which cases will cleared out. Will one of them be the case of the elderly lady who, along with her elderly brothers and sister, was left property in Christ Church by her brother’s will? He died in 1982?

    It has now been 24 years and every attempt she has made to have the matter heard and by the court has failed. Her last visit to court was futile as the QC representing the executor to the will did not show up for the hearing and after she had made her way into town, left the old lady waiting in court in vain.

  3. Hoo Dunnit?


  4. Green!

    Throw out de damned cases and start fresh, DO!

    Much like it is in the US,
    the colour of Justice is GREEN!

  5. Jane

    Uncertain. Not on list of Kingsland assets. Supposedly personal property. Unable to make accurate determination.

  6. ross

    Green! I agree. Throw them ALL out and start fresh.

    The lawyers could do to give back people the money they have already spent (wasted) for nothing.

  7. missinghome

    “Throw them ALL out and start fresh.”

    Throwing out the cases would not be “starting fresh”. It would be a victory for those who used corrupt methods for years to prevent the cases from coming before the courts. It would be a victory for those who have money enough to “lawyer the other side to death”.

    No – don’t throw out the cases. Hire extra judges, build more courtrooms. Do anything so that justice will be done and those who abuse the system will not successfully avoid a court hearing.

  8. Green!

    So it would be a victory: big deal!
    I guess you’re one of the old guard who still holds to ancient “wisdoms” like ‘Crime Duzn’t Pay’ – riiiight!
    and ‘Money duzn’t grow on trees’ —-riiiight, again!
    (talk to a ganja farmer, talk to a coca farmer, about how money doesn’t grow on trees, or about how crime doesn’t pay).
    The world is topsy turvy, dude,
    and you gotta learn to roll wid da punches…sight?

  9. Green!

    Hire extra judges.?
    Build extra courts.?
    De floor of the Treasury is CEMENT
    and it’s showing.!
    We have no money to afford even imported goods. and you want to hire extra judges and build new courts? Paying with buttons?
    Barbados is broke! Get real, nuh!

  10. ross

    Green!, thas a pretty selfish perspective but it sure is accurate.

  11. John

    We could sell the Beemers!!

  12. ross

    John, you want to start a war? Certain people have grown quite accustomed to their (taxpayers) Beemers.

  13. John

    I know, I know….. just a thought!!

  14. John

    Along the same lines the Chief Justice is also calling lawyers to account who waste the court’s time by not being properly retained and seeking adjournments until they are.