With the opening of the legal year set for today, Chief Justice Sir Brian Moree foreshadowed several priority items for the coming months.
He noted that the main focus for 2022 is to execute and implement projects that have been in the works for some time now, including the case management system, the bail management system, the court automated payment system, and the digital court reporting system, among other things.
“We now must execute,” Sir Brian said.
“The planning has been done. A lot of the back office work has been done, hundreds and hundreds of meetings. It’s now all about execution and implementation.
“We have to implement our case management system. We have to complete our digitization project. We have to launch our e-filing portal. We have already launched CAPS, the court automated payment system, in the magistrate’s court, but that needs a little more work in order to get the level of utilization that we need. So, we’re going to be doing more work on integrating CAPS into the delivery of our services in our magistrate’s family court.”
Sir Brian said that the continued reliance on manual records in the magistrate’s court draws out trials, but that issue should be remedied soon.
“We have another major project, which is very important [and] it’s the digital court reporting system,’ he said
“This is where we’re going to have digital court reporting systems in most of our courts.
“We’re trying to get the funding to get it in all of our courts. But that’s going to have a very positive impact, because it is going to expedite the proceedings.
“In the magistrate’s court today … the official record in the magistrate’s court is actually kept manually by the presiding magistrate.
“This is wholly unacceptable and it is something which we need to change.
“It takes a one-day trial and makes it a three-day trial because the proceedings can only go at the pace at which the magistrate can write. This is ludicrous. This is wholly unacceptable.
“Once we get our digital court reporting system working in the magistrate’s court, it is going to significantly increase the productivity of those courts and it’s going to reduce the time it takes to finish cases. It’s also going to allow us to finish transcripts much more efficiently and much more expeditiously.”
Sir Brian also expressed hope that the Court Services Bill might be passed, which would prompt “major infrastructural changes.”
He also noted that the new civil procedure rules, though running behind schedule, will be in place soon.
“We will have a public consultation period in the first three months of ,” he said.
“We will have in place, certainly by the end of the second quarter, a completely updated and modern civil procedure code, which will govern the procedure for civil cases and commercial cases in The Bahamas.”