Barbados solution to 20-year court backlog: throw it all out, nevermind justice and the victims

How long would any Harlequin Resorts court cases take to reach trial?

by Nevermind Kurt

by Nevermind Kurt

Sophisticated business and financial industry investors have long had the word: civil cases in Barbados take at least 10 years and often up to 20 years to make their way through the courts. Many court cases never finish because witnesses, victims, plaintiffs, defendants, lawyers and judges move away or die.

When cases take 15 or 20 years to get to trial, people often die or go broke – or both. After 15 or 20 years plaintiffs can no longer afford their lawyers. Defendants go bankrupt (sometimes planned) – leaving victims no real prospect of recovering anything.

“New business investors in Barbados now make their decisions accordingly in the knowledge that if things go wrong there will probably be no real recourse through a lawsuit.”

But consider what this means for existing investors and business people who didn’t know about the state of our courts when they made their original decisions about doing business or entering into legal contracts in Barbados. Consider what this means now for all those potential Harlequin victims. If they want justice in Barbados, they have two choices: be prepared to spend the next decade or two and tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees in pursuit of justice, or walk away.

“Chief Justice Marston Gibson: Court chaos threatens Barbados international business sector

Marston Gibson describes massive backlog, missing case files, deliberate delaying tactics by unscrupulous profiteering lawyers”

from BFP’s March 12, 2012 article: Shocking mathematics of the Barbados Court system: Thousands of cases will never reach conclusion

The reality of the court system in Barbados

Faced with an unbelievable backlog approaching 3000 cases, Chief Justice SIR Marston Gibson has decided to give thousands of folks a shove to abandon all hope for justice through the courts of Barbados.

A new direction gives everyone about 30 days to confirm their intentions and then Barbados will start tossing cases out the window. It is a sad and embarrassing admission for our country and it wouldn’t be so bad except that we’ve done it before. And… we’ll probably do it again. That doesn’t build confidence in our courts or in our country as a place to do business or place investments.

You cannot blame Chief Justice Gibson because he inherited the legacy of 15 years of BLP government underfunding, and Attorney General and then Chief Justice SIR David Simmons’ wrong decisions about the courts. Owen Arthur and David Simmons thought that courts are buildings. They were wrong: Courts are people, procedures and supporting technologies. CJ Simmons concentrated on buildings, neglected the supporting technologies and failed to provide the direction, leadership and discipline to keep the lawyers and judges from slipping into the lazy funk that permeates the courts.

Today the sad truth is that our legal profession and the courts are not even concerned with the appearance of justice. If the judges really cared about justice they would rip into lawyers who arrive late or aren’t prepared. They would fire court employees who are like little dictators with no care for results.

But our judges and lawyers are part of the “Old Boy” network. The courts are for their profit, not for justice.

Further Reading

Barbados Today: Move to ease court backlog and Skeptical

BFP August 26, 2012: Chief Justice Gibson admits no progress on court backlog


Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Crime & Law

10 responses to “Barbados solution to 20-year court backlog: throw it all out, nevermind justice and the victims

  1. Well Well

    No one every though that it would one day come back to bite them………….it would be funny if so many people were not victimized because of those backlogs.

  2. Well Well

    That should read, no one ever thought that it would one day come back to bite them.

  3. Name.

    This place is sooooo Mickey Mouse!

    Anyone who takes Barbados seriously..
    probably takes themselves too seriously, as well.

    Honest to Christ
    we are now well past our Best by: date!

  4. John

    Suppose all of the victims who can’t get a fair or speedy trial were to “take the Government to court” for depriving them of the constitutional rights the Government promises to give them.

    For every case in which a dismissal ends up in victimisation start a new case with the Government as the defendant.

    Sue for damages incurred if there are any!!

    Be prepared to take it all the way to CCJ!!

    Just make sure the victim has made preparations for a long fight and one way is by making sure his/her estate is properly planned out and constituted to continue the fight to the end!!

    Something’s gotta give.

    A smart lawyer might look at starting a class action suit against the Government. Just needs enough victims to come forward and hold up their clothes.

    Just a crazy thought!!


    MOST cases dealing with land was a fraud from the start, None of the 2 sides fighting over land and no one have a deed , Two sided crooks looking for get some thing for free and the lawyers crooking both sides .
    How many of the cases dealing with land? and we will see a clear case of Fraud .. The delay till both side are dead or broke and the lawyers on both sides take the land in Question.
    The rest of the cases are lawyers milking the clients for years and no paper to back up nor court dates,
    This way , we may see what cases are real . lawyers will have to look for a new line of work , ,

  6. Well Well

    John……..crazy thought indeed, upon winning the case, you will have to find the smart lawyer to sue him for your money……….class action or not.

  7. John

    See …… I was figuring that if a smart lawyer existed who would actually take on the crooked system he/ she would not do what all the other crooked lawyers do in the crooked system.

    Guess I am crazy.

  8. 22

    this whole slow moe got me thinking lots of diff points of view maybe ”they” are making way for something else look out the box bigger picture here with this harlyquin thing the finger printing thing missin one of the most important tourism day with canada etc….this sick english AD somuch more sumting iz up maybe hmm ”they” culd be traing for the ”bigger heads ” crime spree whole heap of ponssie scheams like the rest before quinss strike lol they have gotten in our area of the town now suddenly the world is to small

  9. Mr. Troll

    It seems like a culture of corruption has now permeated every segment of the Barbadian society.

  10. 195

    It would be interesting to know what % of pending cases are simple traffic offenses, such as not using seatbelt, speeding, driving without license or insurance, etc.
    Then..what % of pending cases are criminal, but petty…such as smoking or possession of a joint, stealing a few limes from a tree or a bottle of vicks from Collins ltd..etc etc
    Then what % are serious criminal charges, rape, armed assault, burglary murder, etc
    What % are civil, divorce, labour related etc
    Then..someone with brains could actually set up some priorities, and clear the deck a bit….starting with specified tickets or fines for simple traffic offenses.
    As I drive by the spanking new , multimillion $ Judicial Building with its fountains and marble floors, airconditioned of course…I can`t but help think what a waste of money to drag a poor young guy from the hood,into that building, to charge him for smoking a spiff, while the big white collar criminals live like kings, having robbed thousands of people of their life savings and pensions.