The Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project will launch its regional Criminal Bench Book for Magistrates and Parish Court Judges on Friday, December 14, 2018 at 12 noon at the Pegasus Hotel, Kingston, Jamaica, during the CCJ’s Academy for Law 5th Biennial Conference.
The Bench Book is a compilation of rules of procedure distilled from primary legislation, case law, policy, and significantly, the contributions and experience of judicial officers practicing in the English-speaking Caribbean. It includes guidance on judgment writing and giving of reasons, procedures for dealing with vulnerable defendants and witnesses, sentencing options and methodology, and extradition proceedings, among others.
It must be acknowledged that summary criminal procedure varies throughout the English-speaking Caribbean. Across jurisdictions, rules of procedure are prescribed in summary criminal codes, rules of court, interpreted from an assortment of legislation and developed incrementally by judicial precedent. In the space between these traditions, procedural gaps and inconsistencies flourish.
The Bench Book consolidates these rules of procedure, statutory provisions, recent amendments to primary legislation, and the guidelines set out in appellate judgments from the magisterial courts, into an easily navigable, concise treatise on summary procedure that Magistrates and Parish Court Judges can easily refer to, regardless of the territory in which they happen to be sitting.
Several speakers are carded for the launch and will include The Hon. Mr. Justice Adrian Saunders, President, Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ); the Hon. Mme. Justice Alice Yorke Soo-Hon, JA; and the Hon. Mr. Justice Mark Mohammed, JA; both from Trinidad and Tobago; Her Excellency Laurie Peters, High Commissioner for Canada to Jamaica and Mrs. Gloria. Richards-Johnson, Director, JURIST Project.