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'COVID-19 significantly hampered' court’s ability to effectively manage caseload- CJ Pereira

Her Ladyship, Hon Dame Janice M. Pereira has bemoaned that the ongoing Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic has, to a large extent, affected the courts in the Eastern Caribbean in managing its caseload. Photo: Facebook
Antigua and Barbuda and St Lucia remain the states with the highest caseloads, and thus far, none of the high courts recorded a clearance rate above 100 per cent. Photo: Internet Source
Antigua and Barbuda and St Lucia remain the states with the highest caseloads, and thus far, none of the high courts recorded a clearance rate above 100 per cent. Photo: Internet Source
CASTRIES, St Lucia - Her Ladyship, Hon Dame Janice M. Pereira has bemoaned that the ongoing Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic has, to a large extent, affected the courts in the Eastern Caribbean in managing its caseload.

“Over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly hampered the court’s ability to effectively manage its caseload and has laid bare the weaknesses and challenges faced in an already under-resourced environment,” she said via a virtual ceremony to mark the opening of the 2021 Law Year, on Wednesday, January 13, 2021.

She added: “In several of our member states and territories, the pandemic grounded the conduct of jury trials due mostly to our inability to provide the required proper physical, social distancing protocols in many of our existing courtrooms.”

In this vein, she called for ‘judge alone’ criminal trials, adding that the time was ripe to do so.

Chief Justice Pereira said it would assist with the current backlog being experienced.

Heavy caseload

In the meantime, she reported an “extremely heavy caseload” for the Eastern Caribbean Supreme court.

“At the court of appeal, there were 481 appeals filed in 2019. The court heard 393 appeal matters in four court sittings and a further 456 matters in chamber hearings. The Court of Appeal delivered 55 written judgements and 348 oral decisions, amounting to 403 decisions delivered in total.”

“This is by no means insignificant, given the relatively small size of our appellant bench. Fortunately, in June 2020, we were able to increase our complement to seven,” she pointed out.

Meanwhile, at the high court level throughout the jurisdiction, a total of 7,450 cases were filed, and 4,384 were disposed of, she informed.

She said Antigua and Barbuda and St Lucia remain the states with the highest caseloads, and thus far, none of the high courts recorded a clearance rate above 100 per cent.

“This points to an accumulation of case backlog. Furthermore, on average, the overall clearance rate of member states and territories as a grouping continuously declined over the last three years and was at its lowest at 59 per cent in 2019. This flags a dire need to continued and more robust measures to be implemented in those member states and territories which are falling behind. It requires an all hands on deck approach by all stakeholders to arrest and reverse this trend.”

Justice Pereira said the factors impacting this trend are many, but in large measure reflects the persistent shortcomings of physical, human and financial resources at their core.

7 Responses to “'COVID-19 significantly hampered' court’s ability to effectively manage caseload- CJ Pereira”

  • Ghost (13/01/2021, 12:42) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    Chief Justice, I am so very Proud of you for the work you’re doing with the Judicial System. May God Continue to extend Great Blessings upon you as you faithfully do your best to Improve services.. Also, May God Continuously watch over all of you keeping all of you safe from “every” enemy seen and unseen..Thank you for always being a humble soul and giving recognition and Thanks to the people for giving you the opportunity to serve them..
    • Eagle Eye (13/01/2021, 13:22) Like (1) Dislike (14) Reply
      Which god are you speaking about, you or your ansisters see any god doing anything for anybody? You better start putting some confidence in your own abilities to walk earth everyday until it's your last day. From giving credit to some invisible bein.
      • Ghost (13/01/2021, 14:05) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
        @ eagle eye.. it is your right to believe or not believe in God.. the FOOL in His heart says there’s no God..I pray for your soul’s’ sake that you seek Him... I hope that when you are on “your” death bed or sick that you don’t try to seek Him then.. you are very disrespectful to God but I pray God’s Mercies for you.. as you are so adamant that He doesn’t exist, “I Know” He Exists for I’ve seen and experienced His Goodness and Mercy for myself..
      • bvi (13/01/2021, 17:09) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
        @ Eagle Eye...wind/ air can make a boat sail, planes to fly, you breathe it, it can make destruction via hurricanes, it cools you down...one question to you fool...have you ever seen wind/ or air? but you know its there right....so don't jump on our "unseen" God according to your words...I see him every morning the sun rise and evening when it sets...and the same God woke your ungreatful self up this morning.
      • @ eagle eye (14/01/2021, 04:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Well the devil could text too ...who give you a device?

        We have a lot of know-it-alls amongst us who don’t address the elephant in the room when it comes to anything they don’t want to hear.

        The world we live in is selling out to the devil like sororities, fraternities, the Lodge, other secret societies and ancestral and cultural traditions forgetting that these same people including ancestors have to answer to Almighty God and without a second thought bind themselves to these societies and traditions. They won’t be there defending you on Judgment Day.

        People are DENOUNCING THEIR ASSOCIATION WITH SORORITIES, FRATERNITIES, AND OTHER SECRET SOCIETIES and removing themselves from it but the BVI having been spared so much by God continue to show many who serve two masters.

        Search the Net for people who were deeply involved in these things and came out from among them:

        This video makes those who call the exposure a myth look ignorant to the truth

        https://youtu.be/zh3mBWu7Kyw
      • Jack and Jill (14/01/2021, 19:59) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        @Eagle eye, is people like you that says "Oh GOD when they are face with danger. That's when he will smite your tongue out of your mouth. You ungrateful, heartless PIG
  • Lord have mercy (13/01/2021, 13:52) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Every failure is been blamed on Covid,,, Covid is making them lazy and effort less,,Yet They continue to collect their big salaries,, How about if the Government or the treasury sAy we can't pay because of Covid,. They won't be happy,,, They need to get them lazy selves up and be creative put The effort in, be creative,,,We are all know that blaming Covid sounds ligit,,,,,It's just the easy way out of the failure column,,,


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