A DELINQUENT COURT SYSTEM. That’s how the Barbados Bar Association described the justice system in Barbados in a stinging letter sent to the Acting Chief Justice Sherman Moore earlier this week.
“As president of the Bar, it is my duty to inform you of the general feeling of the Bar, that the wheels of our judicial system are grinding to a halt,” president Leslie Haynes said.
In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the DAILY NATION, the Bar Association, which represents over 700 attorneys, particularly complained about the “dysfunction of the civil justice system of Barbados”, noting it offended the constitutional right of people’s access to justice and was now a matter of grave national importance.
“The average court experience is characterised by unexplained delays, inefficient scheduling, missing and or incomplete court files, lack of proper accommodation for attorneys and litigants and an inability to have matters heard.
“. . . If this dysfunction is not urgently addressed it will deteriorate into a complete breakdown of the civil justice system in Barbados,” the letter stated.
The Bar Association has also taken issue with not receiving a copy of the report on the assessment of the Barbados Judiciary Implementation of the Civil Procedure Rules and Project Proposal April 2010.
It also charged that it appeared there was no structure to the operation of the court and that the major players, particularly the Registration Department, did not understand the core concept of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR), noting it would eventually frustrate the judicial process.
Referring to the report, the Bar Association added: “It must be agreed that the proper implementation of the CPR requires the participation and cooperation of all concerned parties including the Bar and we are alarmed that the Barhasbeen and continues to be excluded from the process.
“This exclusion is highlighted by the fact that the Bar is yet to be officially notified that the assessment was being conducted and that a report containing recommendations was actually prepared.”
The letter added: “Our membership is growing increasingly frustrated and impatient with what appears to be a failure to address the issues which are obstructing the proper function of the judicial system and the public’s access to justice. In my opinion, it is imperative that the Bar be fully informed so as to avoid action based on inaccuracy.”
Efforts to contact Acting Chief Justice Moore and Registrar of the Supreme Court Marvo Clarke for comment yesterday were futile.