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Allen pledges to further strengthen judiciary

Newly appointed Court of Appeal President Anita Allen yesterday pledged to work to further strengthen the judiciary in The Bahamas.

One of her goals is to establish a judicial studies board, or a judicial council, to assist with the training of judges.

“I am excited by the prospect that judicial education may become a reality in The Bahamas at last,”said Allen during a special sitting at the Court of Appeal to welcome her as president.

Allen recommended the establishment of the board to Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, who pledged to commit the necessary resources to judicial education.

She said the proposed board would train newly appointed judges and further train sitting judges.

“For those of you who still harbor the fear that judicial education might destroy judicial independence, you will be comforted to know that the first precept of judicial education is that its control and direction must be in the hands of the judiciary. And that, no doubt, must be the precept of judicial education in The Bahamas,”Allen said.

She emphasized that the constitution stipulates that judicial training should be under the control of the judiciary.

Allen also revealed changes to the administrative structure at the Court of Appeal.

The deputy registrar of the court will be responsible for providing legal research to judges. Allen said this shift should help to improve the quality of judgments and it should also make the duties of judges less onerous.

The deputy registrar has also been directed to research judicial education structures around the world. Recommendations will be forwarded to Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett for the establishment of a system in The Bahamas.

Additionally, Allen said she is reviewing draft rules for the amendment of the 2005 Court of Appeal rules.

“To the counsel who will be appearing before us, we demand punctuality, courtesy, respect and preparation. Justice must not be delayed and compromised by counsel’s procrastination, lack of decorum and poor preparation,”she said.

Sir Michael, Attorney General John Delaney and Court of Appeal Justice Christopher Blackman were among those who welcomed Allen to the court.

Before being appointed president of the Court of Appeal, Allen was a justice of the Supreme Court for more than 14 years.

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