Posted: Tuesday, January 18, 2022. 1:39 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: In addition to the traditional presentations from the Chief Justice, President of the Bar Association of Belize, and Attorney General, for the first time there were presentations from lesser-heard bodies: the General Registry and the Inner (Senior) Bar and Outer (Junior) Bar.
Speaking for boss Trienia Young, Registrar of the Supreme Court, deputy Patricia Arana lamented the loss of the personal touch brought to service by the General Registry, which covers both court activity and the Vital Statistics Unit.
Arana noted the addition of technological advancement including online payments and filings for routine court work from fines to divorces while juggling occasional disruptions and losses in staff.
Deputy Registrar of the Court of Appeal, Melissa Rowley, noted that the Court has had to cancel four of its six scheduled sessions in 2020 and 2021, but held two virtual hearings later in the year and will continue in this manner until further notice.
A total of 50 civil appeals and 31 criminal appeals were filed in 2020 and 2021 combined and the Court looks forward to the recovery of both its office and the nation.
Representing the Inner Bar, Senior Counsel Fred Lumor discussed its views of the stewardship of the Judiciary and contributions by the Bar to the administration of justice. He first discussed the need to revise case management rules in the 2005 Civil Procedure Rules, to appoint a master judge looking at procedural issues and others before handing them over to the judge hearing the case.
He also pointed out other issues for which he asked the Bench to address including the matter of handling of land disputes.
Counsel Alder Waight represented the Outer Bar and summarized the changes wrought by the pandemic – a change that has separated judges, attorneys, clients, and the public, but has made their communications somewhat more efficient. That the court has met these challenges, Waight said, was due to the work of the Attorney General, but there is hope that these changes will be extended to the criminal courts and all levels of the system in the pursuit of justice.
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