Gibson to erase backlog
With the nation’s courts clogged with civil cases that can take years to settle, new Chief Justice Marston Gibson is hoping to slash the backlog by 85 per cent in a reasonable time.
And to help solve the problem he is promoting the concept of alternative dispute resolution.
At the same time, the gap between the practising attorneys and the judiciary has narrowed and he lauded the Bar for “awakening” to the avalanche of public criticism as seen in its commitment to address complaints of lawyers’ clients.
In a relatively short address to hundreds of Bajans celebrating Barbados’ 45th anniversary of Independence, the Chief Justice said in Brooklyn that there was a need to unclog the courts of both civil and criminal cases.
“Our courts are backlogged,” said Gibson. “The main concept we wish to push is one of mediation, where parties get together and essentially with the aid of a mediator or conciliator, they fashion their own remedy and so we don’t need to adjudicate it. If we can have a system where judges adjudicate only the most intractable cases, then it means we would be well on the way.
“It is a fact that if you are not moving at least 85 per cent of your cases off your lists you would never climb out of your backlog . . . . So we are trying to get that done and the hope is that those of you who have been very critical of Barbadian judicial system and of the Bar as it operated will in short order be able to see a turnaround in the way we do business.”
Gibson, a judicial referee on Long Island for more than a dozen years before returning home a few months ago, described as “good news” the attitude of the Bar Association to public criticisms, “not only from Barbadians living overseas but also Barbadians” at home.
“I think I have succeeded in forging linkages between the bench and the Bar,” he said. “I think I have been successful in convincing the Bar that we are in it together.
“The dichotomy, the distance which you sensed used to exist between the bench and the Bar no longer exists or is certainly closing.”
The gala held at Russo On The Bay in Brooklyn was arranged by the Council Of Barbadian Organizations of New York, of which Gibson was president.