Barbados’ new Chief Justice, Marston Gibson, has admitted that the Barbados courts are in crisis. In a speech to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday, he stated, “I am very conscious of the fact that our courts are in crisis and I am conscious of the fact that we need to do something about it.” .
One of the courses the CJ intimated that he would follow is one long espoused by BU, that of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). BU is also happy to read of the hearty support which President of the BAR Andrew Pilgrim has given to his Lordship’s approach.
The CJ is looking at the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Practice Directions. BU assumes that the CJ refers to the Rules contained here.
If so, we are very hopeful but:
The problem, as always, is going to rest with the names that are approved as mediators. We certainly do not want to see an incompetent judiciary being mirrored by an equally incompetent list of mediators. All this will do is add court-sponsored time and expense to the bills of the litigants, with the case ending up back where it was in the first place – before the courts. All this will be productive of is greater expense for litigants and money by way of “jobs for the boys” in the pockets of a selected group. We have all had quite enough of the “jobs for the boys” from the justice system. It is encouraging to note that the CJ will likely dictate the scale of fees to be paid for mediations, thus removing the possibility of mediators charging whatever they think they can get.
Our money is on the CJ to get it right. He has already taken the first step by publicly and courageously admitting that the judicial system is in crisis. Something that no judicial (or government) official has been prepared to own up to until now.