Fri | Oct 15, 2021

New Family and Probate Division of the Supreme Court established

Published:Thursday | September 16, 2021 | 11:57 AM
The division, which became operational today, will hear matters in relation to divorce, division of property, child custody and maintenance - File photo.

A new Family and Probate Division of the Supreme Court has been established.

The division, which became operational today, will hear matters in relation to divorce, division of property, child custody and maintenance.

Currently, some of these matters are heard in the High Court Division of the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes said the new division is designed to improve efficiency and the rate of disposition of matters involving the family.

He added that two judges, Justice Icolin Reid and Justice Audrey Lindo, have been assigned to the division.

 “When you have dedicated judges dealing with these family and probate matters, what you will have is expertise building up over a period of time. As a result, these judges will begin to deal with these cases faster and more efficiently and so avoid unnecessary delays. Our time standard is actually 24 months and what we are aiming for is to have those cases completed within the 24-month time standard,” Sykes said today while speaking at the opening of the Home Circuit Court for the Michaelmas Term at the Supreme Court in downtown, Kingston.

“These judges will have their own court clerks, courtrooms and chambers to deal with these types of cases. These cases will be taken out of the High Court Division listing where they tend to be and now place within resources dedicated exclusively to family and probate matters,” Sykes added.

He stated that a specialised division is consistent with international best practice in having matters go through much faster.

The other divisions of the Supreme Court are the Gun Court, the Commercial Court and the Revenue Court.

The chief justice said the Family Division will aim to clear up matters expeditiously like the Gun Court and Revenue Court, which are almost backlog free.

“The Gun Court is the first court in Jamaica that is operating according to international standards, that is to say, it has less than 10% of the caseload in backlog and less than 5% in net backlog. That is the experience we are now taking over in the Family and Probate Division. We have also seen it with the Revenue Court where the cases are almost completely disposed of. By October of this year, all the cases there should be heard and determined. We are also disposing of matters faster in the Commercial Division where we have dedicated judges there,” Sykes added.

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