The Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project conducted a series of consultations over the past few months throughout the region, with the aim of developing regional Public Education and Engagement Campaign and Training Plans for the judiciary.
To this end, the Project will host a Validation Workshop on October 4, 2018 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago at the Radisson Hotel. The objectives of the workshop are as follows:
- To present the findings of the market research study on the knowledge, attitudes and practices of Court users about the judiciary;
- To share preliminary recommendations on the implications of the findings on the design of the Public Education and Engagement Campaign and Training Plans; and
- To collate the reflections, observations and feedback from the justice sector stakeholders involved in the study in order to validate the findings and preliminary recommendations.
In keeping with the Project’s commitment to a collaborative approach in the design and implementation of all activities in the region, it is expected that a wide cross section of justice sector stakeholders will attend the workshop to ensure a holistic approach in the development of this initiative.
Ms. Sheila Stuart, Director, Parent Education for Development (PAREDOS), Barbados:
“The one- day Public Education and Engagement Validation Workshop hosted by the Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project, provided participants with invaluable information regarding the public perceptions and experiences of the operations of the judiciary in the Caribbean.
The information presented was comprehensive and thorough. The lead presenter was excellent. She demonstrated confidence and a very thorough knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. She clearly also understood the need to engage her audience and to keep them alert and focused. The research findings presented very valuable insights in to the public perception and understanding of the operations of the judiciary in the Caribbean and the need for demystification of these processes.
In my view, the added value in the presentation of the research findings was the dramatic presentation, which in my view helped to focus the attention of participants and at the same time reinforce the information that was being presented orally. The visual statements of the theatrical presentations were very powerful enabling participants to understand the widespread public reticence and mystique regarding the judicial processes in Caribbean society.
I would like to thank the organizers of the Workshop for ensuring that there was a wide cross-section of stakeholders present. These stakeholders provided strategic and dynamic suggestions and recommendations for the development and implementation of a public education and engagement programme across the Caribbean.
His Worship, Mr. Christopher Birch, Chief Magistrate, Barbados:
“The Public Education and Engagement Workshop sponsored by the JURIST Project was invaluable. In bringing together judicial officers, media practitioners, and academics, it provided the opportunity for all concerned to receive much needed feedback from the public in relation to the operation of the courts for all of its stakeholders.
The Workshop also enabled its attendees to focus upon those areas where the public may perceive shortcomings in the performance of the court as a tool of social progress and accessible justice for citizens of the Caribbean. Some of these problematic areas can be seen in terms of public perception and contextual reporting than actual concerns, but the Workshop served as a vital reminder that ‘justice must not be done, but also seen to be done.’
The results of the surveys as presented at the Workshop were very well presented and imaginatively discussed by the organizers and the debates as to the way forward were spirited, respectful, and rich in information and solutions.
For me personally, the Workshop demonstrated that with frank discussion and a will to improve the ways the courts do business, improvements are achievable in the near term. In addition, I was happy that the results of the research carried out by the consultants reflected integrity and transparency of the process by which we can gather the views of the public and fellow stakeholders.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank all at JURIST who were involved with organizing and executing the Workshop, and I await the next phase of public engagement and the improvement of the ‘customer experience’ of those people who are involved in the justice system.”
Ms. Charon Gardner-Hippolyte, Registrar, Registry of the Supreme Court, Saint Lucia:
“It was my pleasure to have attended the JURIST Project’s Market Research Validation Workshop on October 4, 2018 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. In furtherance of the Project’s aim of developing regional Public Education and Engagement Campaign Training Plans for the judiciary, the Project conducted a series of consultations throughout the region in the prior months.
At the Workshop, the Project presented the findings of the study which encompassed the public’s knowledge and awareness of court services, legal topics of interest to court users, barriers and enablers to taking legal action, their attitudes and beliefs about the courts and their court experience, and how the public seeks and receives information about the courts. Also presented were the observations and feedback from justice sector stakeholders, in relation to the intersection of the judiciary and the media. The Project also shared their recommendations on the implications of the findings on the design of the Public Education and Engagement Campaign and Training Plans.
I found the study to be comprehensive and thorough and the findings and their implications were delivered in a highly effective manner. In particular, I wish to highlight the unconventional approach of the play/skit that was used to depict a real-life scenario. The role of the actors to engage the participants and emphasize the issues plaguing the system, was very powerful.
The findings of the study were most insightful and thought-provoking as to the public’s perceptions, needs and expectations of the justice system. More importantly how we can better fulfill those needs and expectations. The Workshop further provided participants the opportunity to brainstorm, discuss actions and strategies which we are eager to implement within our various jurisdictions to address the findings of the study.
This Workshop has been invaluable. As a community, we have been re-energized and renewed in our efforts and work to educate and engage the region’s public about the justice system and to make it more accessible, inclusive and user-friendly. The study and the findings have been truly impactful on our understanding of the current perceptions and the improvements which are required to truly transform and strengthen the administration of justice in the region, with our focus on the on the most vulnerable groups in society. I am truly grateful to the Project for undertaking this important initiative and look forward to our continued collaboration in strengthening justice in our Caribbean region.”
Dr. Sharmayne Saunders, Board President, Haven House, Belize:
“I had the distinct privilege to attend the Public Education and Engagement Market Research Validation Workshop on Thursday October 4, 2018 in Trinidad. I have been working with Belize’s National Mediation Committee from its inception, with direct responsibility for the development and implementation of the court annexed mediation, family and divorce mediation and court annexed arbitration, in my role as Program Officer at The University of the West Indies, Open Campus, Belize. I have also been an advocate to end domestic violence against women and children for over a decade. This workshop allowed me to understand from both the judicial perspective and the domestic violence victim’s perspective how mediation and the awareness of mediation works. The increased knowledge and awareness of all court services enhances users’ accessibility, awareness and use of the courts and legal services. Based on the users’ experience, the attitudes and beliefs about the court are impacted.
This exposure has certainly concretized my position that there is an increased need for us to demystify the courts and law to empower men, women, youths and the indigent.”