Bulletproof windows for new Court of Appeal building
Bulletproof windows are among the new features that will benefit judges come September when the newly renovated Court of Appeal opens in downtown Kingston.
Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck made the announcement yesterday during a tour of the $846 million facility, which will house 14 chambers for judges, three new courtrooms, and a registry. Chuck said that with the additional space, the backlog of cases in the appeal court would be reduced.
"I am keeping my fingers crossed that next month, there will be enough space for judges so that more [justices] can be appointed to the Court of Appeal. Judges in the Court of Appeal, like the other judges in the Supreme Court and the parish courts, are overworked. Until we have these judges, we will not be able to deliver most of these cases, which are pending for months and years," said Chuck.
He noted that one of the conditions for the European Union to provide funding for the project was a reduction in case backlog.
The two elevators, panel for the courtrooms, and air conditioners should be installed by the end of August. According to Chuck, by the second week in September before the start of the Court of Appeal term, there would be a formal opening of the two top floors of the renovated building. The bottom floor housing the registry would take additional weeks to be completed.
"This is our final court, in a sense, in Jamaica, and it is very important that they (judges) should have the sort of infrastructure [and] ambiance to be able to hear their cases and deliver their judgments in very comfortable surroundings," said Chuck.
Impressed with progress
Head of the European Union Delegation to Jamaica Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska and Court of Appeal judge Justice Hilary Ann Phillips said that they were impressed with the progress that has been made on the renovation of the building.
"It is going to make a substantial difference to us in terms of the work that we have to do. So we have been monitoring and observing the progress daily. We hear the knocking when we are in court, and we are very pleased with what we are seeing," said Phillips.