A public thank you was made by Minister of Legal Affairs, Elvin Nimrod on behalf of the government to CEDA, a Canadian agency for funding the Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) project which was piloted in Grenada last year and has yielded success.
The project was implemented for six months in the first instance to tackle the backlog and delay in court cases affecting the citizenry.
Noting that the project touched and concerned almost every Grenadian, the island’s Deputy Prime Minister used the platform of government’s weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing “to take the opportunity to extend our own very good thanks to the Judicial and Legal Service Commission and to the Canadian government coming to our aid in this very, very important aspect of our legal system. We really want to say thanks”.
The JURIST project was also aimed at developing public trust and confidence in judicial institutions and also to make the system more transparent and the processes that enabled the law courts to manage and dispose of cases efficiently.
The project was intended to ensure the speedy handling of cases through Mediation.
According to Minister Nimrod, the backlog of cases in the system is something that concerns the public as they seek justice in a timely manner.
“Justice in the sense that the cases and the matters (have) been sitting there, pending there in the court, sometime for years and of course you know as it’s being said, ‘justice delayed is justice denied’. The longer the matter waits in the court, the more likely that the outcome will not be satisfactory”, he said.
“…In other words, if a matter (has) been pending too long, sometimes the witnesses die or travel abroad, important information get lost and so of course the case does not get its due,” he added.
The Legal Affairs Minister stated that this is the reason why the Jurist Project was welcomed in the country.
“As I said before there were so many cases pending in the court but for so long. So this project was designed to clear up this backlog and so special judges were assigned to our jurisdiction to deal with these matters. There were 173 cases pending there in the court…of the 173, 166 were successfully completed under this project…some 96% in terms of success”, Nimrod told reporters.
“This is something that we welcome tremendously here and of course while we do hope that we do not revert to this back log situation, we are sure that this action taken by the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, if it becomes necessary again in the future, I am sure that would be dealt with,” he said.
The cost of the JURIST project was 20 million dollars and had a component where judges were trained to deliver judgments orally or quickly, shortly after proceedings.