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Court of Appeal to be expanded

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Posted: Friday, June 4, 2021. 12:30 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Government plans a major expansion of the Court of Appeal, Belize’s highest native court.

Currently, it features a president and four other judges, at least two of whom are non-resident.

Senior Counsel and Leader of Government Business Senator Eamon Courtenay says the panel will be practically doubled, with at least six new judges appointed, in the aim of reducing the backlog of Court of Appeal cases. Participants in cases there may appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Opposition Senator and attorney Sheena Pitts raised the concern of remuneration of the legal minds to be called on to populate the court, and make the environment conducive to their productivity, considering that there is no projected increase to the Judiciary’s budget for some years, making the need for access to separate resources important.

Senator Eamon Courtenay replied that there should be no expectation of any reduction of judges any time soon, lest they suffer popular ire.

Candidates have been vetted by authorities and, Courtenay said, should enjoy the confidence of the Bar Association and the Government generally.

As for reform issues, Senator Courtenay said the work is underway for a systemwide reform initiative which will involve further legislation.

 

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