Chief Justice, Hon. Mrs. Justice Zaila McCalla, has highlighted the important role of the Court Management Services (CMS) in restructuring the institutional framework, through which administrative services are provided for the courts.
Speaking at the CMS’ Year-in-Review conference at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, on July 12, the Chief Justice said the CMS will work at strengthening judicial independence and enable the courts to have greater input in budgetary decisions and execution of activities.
"Expectations in relation to the CMS are very high. Improvements are targeted in the areas of efficiency and responsiveness, as the entity will address some of the longstanding issues that have plagued our courts over the years, many of which have been referred to, in the Justice Reform Taskforce Report,” Justice McCalla pointed out.
“There is the urgent need to eradicate the culture of delay that is endemic in our courts and this is being actively pursued by the introduction of initiatives to streamline the criminal and civil processes and procedures of our court system,” she added.
The Chief Justice explained that the main area that will be targeted is the proper management of the records of the courts, including the full implementation of a technology solution at the Supreme Court.
Other priority areas are the provision of adequate facilities for all courts; and the efficient delivery of service to the public through training and development of court staff, she noted.
According to the Chief Justice, the CMS must be fully cognisant of its role to provide efficient and effective administrative service to the courts, so that they can provide the quality of service which the citizens are entitled to, and deserve.
Meanwhile, Minister of Justice, Senator Mark Golding, in endorsing the functions of the CMS, said that despite the fact that the entity does not report to the Ministry of Justice, the two organisations have a “synergistic and supportive relationship."
He clarified that while the Ministry is responsible for the development of the justice-related policies, the CMS provides administrative support to the Courts.
“It is very important that the Principal Executive Officer of the CMS and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry work together and assist each other, because at the end of the day, the objective is to improve the laws of our country and the justice system,” the Minister asserted.
He added that opportunities also exist for regional networking and integration, which can aid in further improving the overall judicial system.
The CMS was set up in 2008 by the Government, through the Ministry of Justice, in collaboration with the Public Sector Modernidation Division (PSMD), Cabinet Office.
The entity is led by a Principal Executive Officer who has accounting status. The Principal reports to the Chief Justice of Jamaica, who is the Head of the Judiciary, and to Parliament in respect of accounting matters The CMS operates independently of the Ministry of Justice.