CCJ President pushes for electronic judicial system


Technological advancement should not exclude the judicial system rather it should be used as a method of addressing the backlog of cases that impinges on the right to a fair and timely trial, Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) President, Sir Charles Michael Dennis Byron has said.
Sir Charles, who is in Guyana for a brief visit, noted that the backlog of court cases is not only limited to Guyana as it has become an issue that plagues almost all Caribbean countries.
He said that in order to deal with the heavy backlog of cases in the judicial system, the necessary infrastructure needed to be put in place to make the courts electronic, noting that the CCJ has developed systems and set standards to deal with backlogs.
“Everywhere I go in the Region, people complain about the process and the backlogs in the courts and I have first-hand indication that many of these complaints are justified. We have tried our best to highlight this to the judiciaries involved and to propose programmes to improve the situation. We have designed programmes and given them to the judiciaries to implement to the extent they wish,” Sir Charles related.
“We have reached a stage now where the courts must engage in electronic communication with litigants. Everybody in Guyana is using mobile phones, laptops and computers and a lot of the delays would be eliminated if the existing technology were applied to the court processes. I also feel that the systems of managing cases, the court should operate like any other modern enterprise and use best management practices when dealing with its caseload. This must be supported by available technology. Then, of course, the State must provide an adequate complement of Judicial Officers and the infrastructure that is necessary to operate must be in existence,” he added.
He noted that every case that was filed before June 1 has already been heard by the CCJ, and added that he hoped that could become the standard practice for every judicial system in the Caribbean. Sir Charles told reporters that he has always been an advocate for the elimination of backlogs in the judicial system, noting that they impinged on the right of timely justice. He further stated that they were developing e-filing systems and working with the Regional Judicial Systems to improve the quality of case management.
“I have been a firm advocate about the elimination of delay in the judicial process. I believe that when you look in terms of our duties – to provide fair and just dispute resolution in reasonable time is something which we have to take seriously,” he said.
In the Guyana context, there have always been heavy legal backlogs.