Chief Justice Bryan Sykes says that going forward, there needs to be more frequent discussions between the executive and the judiciary relative to measures to strengthen the courts, including the implementation of more modern technology.
In the long-term, Sykes says this frequent dialogue can result in Jamaica having a world-class judicial system.
The top jurist was speaking at Friday’s special sitting to mark the 60th anniversary of the Court of Appeal.
According to Sykes, there have been discussions between the judiciary and the executive through Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck, but the dialogue needs to be held regularly to achieve certain outcomes.
“I think the time has come where courts need to have – and not that we haven’t had it through our Minister of Justice – but we need to have more regular and frequent dialogue with executive, where we speak about the needs of the judiciary, and put ourselves into a position to become a world-class judiciary,” said Sykes.
“The needs (of the judiciary) are not just in terms of the salaries and conditions of work, but also just keeping abreast of modern technologies that can increase productivity of the courts, because ultimately, courts are designed to resolve disputes in a timely way,” he added.
The judge said that solving disputes on a timely basis is the court’s “constitutional responsibility, and one that we must always endeavour to meet.
“… And so, it is my commitment that we will continue to do that,” assured Sykes.
Meanwhile, the island’s chief jurist said he envisions the Court of Appeal becoming a “world-class” court, and noted that efforts have been made through the increase of staff and refurbishment of that court building, to ensure efficiency of the court.
Still, he said there is the need for more staff, including transcriptionists and court reporters, to improve the speedier acquisition of transcripts of cases from the Parish Courts and Supreme Court to the Court of Appeal.
In that area, Sykes said the issue will also be improved through digitisation, with the implementation of a software to replace manual systems.