JURIS Project resumed

The Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIS) Project has resumed with the expectation that it would be complete by the end of May.

The project was temporarily halted to address some administrative issues at the level of the Office of the Chief Justice.

President of the Grenada Bar Association (GBA), Ruggles Ferguson told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that when the project was suspended last October just over 90 matters had been completed.

Ferguson said that the high court judge hearing the matters Justice is now charged with the responsibility of completing the remaining 80 cases.

The original aim was to complete 175 matters by the end of November 2015.

According to the GBA President,  when the JURIS Project was launched the idea was to have two judges sitting full time to hear matters.

However, Ferguson said that for a brief period last October the project never had two judges sitting, and because there was only one judge that affected the pace of the project.

It is anticipated that there may be a second judge available for the JURIS Project by the beginning of March.

Ferguson said this could be good news for the project because it is difficult to have one judge hearing matters consistently every three days, and delivering judgements on a significant number of matters.

In January 2015, the ECSC collaborated with the Government of Grenada for the commencement of the JURIS Project, which is geared at reducing the backlog of civil cases on the island.

The main focus was on cases deemed to be ready for trial as of the end of December 2013, but with no trial date fixed or the date which was fixed was for the years 2018 and beyond.

The approach taken to create a dent in the backlog of cases was scheduled mediation, and if not settled at that level then there will be a trial.

Ferguson described mediation as a key element of the JURIS Project and indicated that it is impossible to complete all of the court matters only by trial.

“Hopefully, between the success of mediation and the ability to schedule and complete these trials in a timely manner, we should have all those matters that are in the backlog as of December 2013 being completed as I anticipate by May 2016,” he said.

In her address at the start of the Law Year last year, Chief Justice Janice Pereira indicated that the overall aim of the JURIS Project is to improve the delivery of judicial services of CARICOM independent sovereign States and Associated Member States.

Chief Justice Pereira hopes that the project will achieve success and become a useful model to replicate in other Member States and Territories.

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