Chief Justice Says New Court Rules “Will Radically Transform The Culture Of Litigation In Barbados” – We Don’t Think So…

An article in the Nation News is interesting for what it says – and doesn’t say – about the court system in Barbados. While speaking of the delays in family law situations in our court system, Chief Justice Sir David Simmons called for a “new culture” among lawyers to move cases along.

Simmons said “It isn’t fair on the parties, the counsellors, the children or the administration of justice… By the middle of next year, there will be completely new rules of court, that will radically transform the culture of litigation in Barbados. The judges will control the pace of litigation…”

The pace of the courts in Barbados has always been three steps forward and two steps back and anything that can be done to bring the pace of the justice system into the 20th Century would be welcomed. What we fear is that all these procedural changes will be viewed as somehow addressing the core problem of our judicial system – which is the unethical influence that any government of the day has over the prosecutors and the judges.

According to our Constitution, our courts are supposed to be independent of, and free from the influence of, the executive branch of our government. With a life-long professional politician and former Cabinet Member and Attorney General as our Chief Justice, no one in their right mind could say that our courts are anywhere near “independent”.

It is also true that our Chief Justice has a personal interest in the outcome of at least two cases now before his courts, yet there are no rules to govern his behaviour in this circumstance. (The two cases are the Ronja Juman case and the Kingsland matter.)

The Chief Justice and his fellow judges can talk all they want about computerisation, case management and other procedures to speed the course of justice, but all of these changes fail to address the core concern that our judicial system is built upon the corrupt foundation of political control and self-interest of the governing elites.

The Nation News Provides An Illustration Of The Lack Of Separation Between Government & Judges

As if to underline all our fears about the government, the prosecutors and the judges all being the same system, the Nation News article is called “AG: New Deal For Family Law”, but then fails to quote the AG (Attorney General) or anyone from that department in the entire article!

Instead, under the title of “AG: New Deal For Family Law”, we hear from the OLD Attorney General, Chief Justice David Simmons and then Justice Jacqueline Cornelius! Both are tight with the Owen Arthur government.

Yup, the courts, the judges, the prosecutors and the government are all the same.

Welcome to Barbados!

Further Reading

The Nation News – AG: New Deal For Family Law

AG: New deal for family law
Published on: 11/24/07.

by TRACY MOORE

THERE ARE MORE PROBLEMS now in family law than years ago, says Chief Justice Sir David Simmons.

“Even though we have been able in the last year to have family law applications come off a hearing in five or six weeks, still they are not brought to any conclusion within a reasonable time,” he said. “It has to stop.”

Sir David was addressing the 25th anniversary of the Family Law Act, yesterday at The Grande Salle, Frank Collymore Hall, The City.
He called for a “new culture” among practitioners to dispose of the matters.

“It isn’t fair on the parties, the counsellors, the children or the administration of justice.

“By the middle of next year, there will be completely new rules of court, that will radically transform the culture of litigation in Barbados. The judges will control the pace of litigation.

“And while this will be happening in general civil practice, and I say this as it is entirely appropriate, in family law which takes up a huge proportion of the court’s time, a similar kind of approach to family cases should be running parallel with what we are doing in the general civil practice.”

Meanwhile, Justice Jacqueline Cornelius revealed that by next year the family law council would be able to produce draft rules for case management in the Family Court, which would facilitate a speedier process.

“No real change could be achieved in the courts unless family matters were subjected to case management,” she said.

She further added that “the council has already started work on the family law rules to reflect the changes that will be made system-wide by the new civil court proceeding rules”.

Justice Cornelius also announced that for the first time in the 25-year history of the Family Law Act and the Family Law Council set up under it, funds would be granted next year to expedite the council’s agenda.

In addition, she said discussion continue as to whether a unified court was needed, that was where the magistrates and the high court were in the same space “and that space can also accommodate social services”.

“Every day it is increasingly clear that the social services need to be present within speaking distance of the judicial officer in the High Court as happen very often in the Magistrates’ Court,” she said.

She said that the council would also look to bring the amendments – especially when it came to property dispute and the definition of a union other than marriage as one where families co-habit continuously for five years – to the Family Law Act to the attention of the Attorney-General’s Office once again, adding that she hoped to see the amendments “seriously reconsidered as a matter of urgency”.

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10 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

10 responses to “Chief Justice Says New Court Rules “Will Radically Transform The Culture Of Litigation In Barbados” – We Don’t Think So…

  1. It is hardly likely that any real change will take place in our legal system so far as delays are concerned.

    Courts treat lawyers as privilege persons who should be granted a delay (known as a “continuance” in the USA) merely because a lawyer is busy, or has just not done his or her homework.

    Only if judges and magistrates were to get serious and fine lawyers for such delays $1,000 a day for each day of delay, or better still jail them for contempt of court, might we see an improvement.

    Short of draconian measures such as that, forget it. Our society is run by politicians who were lawyers, and lawyers who might well become politicians. We, the hoi polloi, are second class citizens.

  2. reality check

    Let the political parties file their positions under the right subjects.

    This digression by anonymous, once again, has nothing to do with the pretend posturing of a Chief Justice who cannot and will not bring about real and fundamental change because of his inside dealings with the party in power and their agents.

    He really needs to resign immediately but can’t and won’t.

  3. BFP

    The comment by anonymous has been removed as the writer was abusing this forum and attempted to change the subject of conversation.

  4. Rumplestilskin

    Pandora ”Courts treat lawyers as privilege persons who should be granted a delay (known as a “continuance” in the USA) merely because a lawyer is busy, or has just not done his or her homework.”

    There are lawyers who delay and delay, complicit with their clients.

    They basically thumb their noses at the Court system and control proceedings themselves. And there are judges who let them get away with it.

    A few quick decisions based on existing evidence or presentations irrespective of protestations or a few nights in Dodds would ensure that they get their case prepared pronto and fix the whole matter of cases being addressed swiftly.

  5. Adrian Loveridge

    Breaking news.

    ‘Cloud over new Minister’
    Trinidad Express
    Sunday 25th November 2007

    ‘Bank sues Mariano Browne for embezzlement’

    Will he remain Chairman of the Enterprise Growth Fund and just remind me again, who was the previous Chairman of Caribbean Commercial bank and the Enterprise Growth Fund?

  6. noname

    Next year, next year, next year. Everything gonna be fixed next year.

    Or is this all just blather for the election with Owen’s crony Simmons as the shill?

    Not happening. Will never happen.

  7. OMG

    What law will be put in place about prominent lawyers who volunteer their services to families in crisis so that they dont hire another lawyer and then drag their feet on the crisis for three months?

  8. Hants

    Amazing.

    The lawsuit was filed in july 2004.

    Was this gentleman appointed as Chairman of the Enterprise Growth fund before or after the lawsuit was filed?

    I hope the government of Barbados did not appoint him after he was charged.

    Is there any project in Barbados involving Government that is not associated with some foreign executive or Company Owner who is before the lawcourts somewhere?

  9. The Mob

    Hants

    “I hope the government of Barbados did not appoint him after he was charged.”

    While the assertion is sometimes made that the “inmates are running the asylum” these inmates are cold, calculating and definitely not crazy.

    In effect the best analogy would be to compare your ruling elite ( politicians, lawyers and judges ) to the “mob” and “teamsters” that ran the Las Vegas casinos for 20 years until the Nevada Gaming Commission fand FBI finally shut them down in the mid 1980’s.

    The Barbadian citizen has paid a hefty price over the past twenty years in terms of violation of basic freedoms, the absence of fair, impartial and speedy justice, the continued and immediate victimization, threats and intense pressure for not falling into line as directed by members and factions of “the mob” etc.

    What amazes most observers is why and how the IMF, World Bank, rating institutions, Transparency International, and foreign governments continue to fail to expose these countries and individuals or what and who they are.

  10. Pingback: » Police, Army and Chief Justice in Barbados Keltruth Corp.: News Blog of Keltruth Corp. - Miami, Florida, USA.