Jamaica’s parish courts backlog-free Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Jamaica’s parish courts are now backlog-free, according to Justice Minister Delroy Chuck.

The minister, who was speaking Tuesday during his contribution to the 2024/25 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, credited Chief Justice Bryan Sykes with what he described as the “remarkable achievements across all levels of the courts”.

Regarding the parish courts, Chuck said the statistics show that less than 2.5 per cent of cases are in backlog, which means these cases have not been tried in 24 months.

“To put it differently, approximately 98 per cent of cases are completed within 24 months. Close to 90 per cent of all the cases are tried and completed within 12 months,” said Chuck.

“This is an outstanding achievement of which Jamaicans can be extremely proud. It means that when they go to the parish courts, they can get their matters adjudicated in a timely manner,” he added.

The justice minister said the likelihood is that in short order, 100 per cent of cases will be tried and completed within 18 months in the parish courts.

“Indeed, going forward, the parish courts’ mission is to complete simple cases within three months, standard cases within six months, complex cases within 12 months, and all cases within 18 months. When achieved, Jamaica’s court system will rank amongst the best,” Chuck declared.

He noted that over the past years, the Court of Appeal’s clearance rate has peaked over 100 per cent to 111 per cent in 2022 and 118 per cent in 2023.

“This means that of every 100 new cases filed, 111 or 118 have been completed. We expect that this steady improvement will continue,” said Chuck.

Regarding the backlog in the Supreme Court, the justice minister said the clearance rate was at 76.5 per cent in 2023.

“However, with the new strategic plan, the chief justice is projecting that in another five years or so, clearance rate in the Supreme Court will be in excess of 100 per cent and backlog will soon become a thing of the past in courts right across Jamaica,” said Chuck.