The Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project will host the inaugural meeting of the Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice and Magisterial Reform on March 3 and 4, 2016 at the Sunset Shores Hotel in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The Rt. Hon. Sir Dennis Byron, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and JURIST Project Director will officially open the meeting.
The Advisory Committee was established under the JURIST Project and is tasked with reviewing criminal justice and magisterial reform initiatives in the Caribbean and making recommendations for improving the quality of justice delivery and reducing delay in the criminal justice system.
The JURIST Project is a five year regional Caribbean judicial reform initiative funded under an arrangement with the Government of Canada. It is being implemented on behalf of Global Affairs Canada and the Conference of the Heads of Judiciary of CARICOM (the Conference), by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which was appointed by the Conference as its Regional Executing Agency (REA).
The Project is working with judiciaries in the region to support their own efforts to improve court administration and strengthen the ability of the courts and the judiciary to resolve cases efficiently and in a timely fashion. Criminal Justice and Magisterial Reform falls under the Project’s overarching goal of delay and backlog reduction in courts.
The Project is currently being implemented in at least six countries but will be expanded to include other territories in the region. Special attention will also be paid to building the capacity and skills of judges, court administrators and court personnel to deliver services that address the needs of women, men, girls and boys. The Advisory Committee is comprised of a broad range of stakeholders from across the region and the criminal justice system including appellate and trial court judges, magistrates, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), and a criminologist among others.
Prior to the meeting a questionnaire was sent out to all stakeholders involved in the criminal justice system seeking baseline data on the perceived problems relating to delay and backlog generally, as well as the more serious problems that impede the efficient working of the criminal justice system.
The first day of the meeting in St Vincent and the Grenadines will be dedicated to discovering from international donor agencies and national judiciaries, the reform initiatives that are ongoing (or have been recently concluded) in the criminal justice sector regionally. On the second day, this information and the findings of the questionnaire will be used to develop a work plan for the Committee. It is expected that the work plan will:
- identify and design reform initiatives targeted at improving the quality of justice delivery and reducing delay in the criminal justice system;
- identify those countries where the initiatives are to be piloted; and
- make provisions for the oversight of the implementation of these initiatives.
The Hon. Mr. Justice Adrian Saunders, CCJ Judge and interim Committee Chair noting that criminal justice reform requires the involvement of a broad spectrum of stakeholders, explained: “It is important that we try to bring everyone together so that we can find out what is currently being done as this will help us in identifying the gaps that need to be filled. It will also help each of us to maximize efficiency and decrease possibilities of duplication of efforts.”
For further information please contact:
Ms. Allison Ali
Caribbean Court of Justice
Tel: (868) 623-2225 ext 2225 | Mobile: (868) 383-6408