Categorized | Local, News, Regional

CCJ defends methods of informing regional public

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Appeal (CCJ) has described as “inaccurate” complaints that it had published a judgment in the media before it had been communicated to the litigants and their legal representatives.

CCJ President Sir Dennis Byron said much to his surprise counsel in a case involving an application for extension of time to file a notice of appeal against a judgment of the Court of Appeal of Barbados which had been delivered on 15th May 2014, continued to complain “even in open court that the Court published its judgment of 25th November 2014 in the media before it had been communicated to the litigants and their legal representatives.

“The allegation is not accurate. It was also in my view inconsistent with the courtesy, respect and civility that should characterise the relations between senior members of the Bar and the Bench.”

Sir Dennis said since July, 2012, consistent with its vision to provide the Caribbean Community with a judiciary which is “accessible, fair, efficient and innovative” the Court has been adopting measures in keeping with the spirit of promoting access to justice.

He said currently, there are four different publications from a hearing; namely: a reasoned judgment, a judgment summary, a media release and a popular press summary for the CCJ Corner project.

“It is a pity that counsel should be wedded to ancient practices which do not give the public adequate information about the work of the Court in a timely manner,” Sir Dennis added.

He told the Court that what actually occurred is that on the 25th November 2014 the parties appeared by video conference before the Court in response to a summons to attend for the delivery of judgment.

“The judgment was delivered in open court in the presence of the party‟s representatives who had formally entered their appearance. In accordance with the time saving practice which has developed, the Court pronounced the order and indicated that the parties would get the reasons soon if they had not already received them.

“The practice which was followed is that the judgment had been sent to the Registrar in Barbados by email with the expectation that a hard copy would have been delivered immediately after judgment was pronounced. This did not occur until two days‟ later by which time the Court had already sent the judgment by email to the litigants.”

Sir Dennis since then the Court has modified its protocols on judgment issuance to ensure that in future the litigant‟s legal representatives will receive an electronic copy of the judgment under confidential cover prior to its delivery in open court.

“The judgment and executive summary were uploaded on the Court‟s website on the same day of delivery and the press release was also issued on the same day. All of this occurred after the pronouncement of the judgment in open court in the presence of the litigants‟ attorneys.

“The administrative error which resulted in the failure of the counsel for the applicants to receive the hard copy immediately on delivery in Court is regretted.”

He said it is unfortunate that this matter has been raised in open court, “because as soon as he found out that the complaint had been made” he telephoned the attorney “to tender apologies and explained the process and indicated that measures were being adopted to ensure that this did not reoccur”.

Sit Dennis said the attorney in question “graciously accepted the apology and indicated that the fact of the telephone call satisfactorily closed the matter”.

Meanwhile the CCJ has dismissed the application filed by Systems Sales Limited on January 12, this year for an extension of time to file a notice of appeal.

The CCJ also ruled that “the applicant shall not institute any further proceedings in this case without leave of the Court”.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Appeal (CCJ) has described as “inaccurate” complaints that it had published a judgment in the media before it had been communicated to the litigants and their legal representatives.

CCJ President Sir Dennis Byron said much to his surprise counsel in a case involving an application for extension of time to file a notice of appeal against a judgment of the Court of Appeal of Barbados which had been delivered on 15th May 2014, continued to complain “even in open court that the Court published its judgment of 25th November 2014 in the media before it had been communicated to the litigants and their legal representatives.

“The allegation is not accurate. It was also in my view inconsistent with the courtesy, respect and civility that should characterise the relations between senior members of the Bar and the Bench.”

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Sir Dennis said since July, 2012, consistent with its vision to provide the Caribbean Community with a judiciary which is “accessible, fair, efficient and innovative” the Court has been adopting measures in keeping with the spirit of promoting access to justice.

He said currently, there are four different publications from a hearing; namely: a reasoned judgment, a judgment summary, a media release and a popular press summary for the CCJ Corner project.

“It is a pity that counsel should be wedded to ancient practices which do not give the public adequate information about the work of the Court in a timely manner,” Sir Dennis added.

He told the Court that what actually occurred is that on the 25th November 2014 the parties appeared by video conference before the Court in response to a summons to attend for the delivery of judgment.

“The judgment was delivered in open court in the presence of the party‟s representatives who had formally entered their appearance. In accordance with the time saving practice which has developed, the Court pronounced the order and indicated that the parties would get the reasons soon if they had not already received them.

“The practice which was followed is that the judgment had been sent to the Registrar in Barbados by email with the expectation that a hard copy would have been delivered immediately after judgment was pronounced. This did not occur until two days‟ later by which time the Court had already sent the judgment by email to the litigants.”

Sir Dennis since then the Court has modified its protocols on judgment issuance to ensure that in future the litigant‟s legal representatives will receive an electronic copy of the judgment under confidential cover prior to its delivery in open court.

“The judgment and executive summary were uploaded on the Court‟s website on the same day of delivery and the press release was also issued on the same day. All of this occurred after the pronouncement of the judgment in open court in the presence of the litigants‟ attorneys.

“The administrative error which resulted in the failure of the counsel for the applicants to receive the hard copy immediately on delivery in Court is regretted.”

He said it is unfortunate that this matter has been raised in open court, “because as soon as he found out that the complaint had been made” he telephoned the attorney “to tender apologies and explained the process and indicated that measures were being adopted to ensure that this did not reoccur”.

Sit Dennis said the attorney in question “graciously accepted the apology and indicated that the fact of the telephone call satisfactorily closed the matter”.

Meanwhile the CCJ has dismissed the application filed by Systems Sales Limited on January 12, this year for an extension of time to file a notice of appeal.

The CCJ also ruled that “the applicant shall not institute any further proceedings in this case without leave of the Court”.