The Jamaican court system

Shows the hierarchy of Courts in The Jamaican Judicial system Civil Proceedings including Matrimonial matters, Probates, Judicial Review and other Judicial Proceedings NB. All the above courts are presided over by Resident Magistrates COURT OF APPEAL •Highest Appellate Court •Headed by a President •Court’s judgments may be appealed to Her Majesty-inCouncil via Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, London. SUPREME COURT CRIMINAL DIVISION •Established under the Judicature (Supreme Court).

Act •Cases for offences which may attract the death penalty and/or punishable with imprisonment exceeding five (5) years. •Has unlimited original jurisdiction in criminal and civil cases. •Sits for three (3) terms: Hilary (January to April), Easter (April to July), and, Michaelmas (September to December). •Sits in circuits in all rural parishes at specified times during each term, while the home Circuit Court deals with cases for the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew HIGH COURT CIVIL DIVISION COMMERCIAL DIVISION Hears civil proceedings including: Hears claims arising out of trade and commerce including:

•Matrimonial matters, •Probate, •Judicial Review and •Judicial Proceedings under the Constitution. •Admiralty Proceedings, •Banking, •Insurance, •Hire Purchase Transactions, •Contracts And •Questions Arising From Commercial Arbitrations. •Commercial matters are also heard in other Civil Courts at the Supreme Court level. GUN COURT •Tries all criminal cases involving firearms except murders. •Established by parliament in 1974 to combat rising gun violence and was empowered to try accused persons in camera, without a jury. REVENUE COURT.

•Established under the Judicature (Revenue Court) Act •Has jurisdiction over matters pursuant to various tax legislation, after the taxpayer has exhausted all administrative avenues for appealing a taxation decision. RESIDENT MAGISTRATE’S COURT •Established in all parishes of Jamaica. •Have limited jurisdiction to hear both civil and criminal cases as prescribed by the Judicature (Resident Magistrates) Act. •Has no power to hold trials of certain criminal offences including treason, murder and rape. However, a Preliminary Enquiry is held to determine whether the evidence is sufficient for the accused to stand trial at the Supreme Court.

CORPORATE AREA COURTS •The Corporate Area Criminal Court, located at Half Way Tree, deals with all criminal cases for the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew •The Corporate Area Civil Court at Sutton Street deals with all civil cases for the two (2) parishes •The Family Court, Coroner’s Court, Children’s Court, Traffic Court, Small Claims Court, the Gun Court (R. M. Division) and the Tax Court are specialized divisions presided over by Resident Magistrates. RESIDENT MAGISTRATE’S COURT – SPECIALIZED DIVISION Presided over by Senior Resident Magistrates •The Family Court, •The Coroner’s Court •The Children’s Court •The Traffic Court •The Small Claims.

Court, •The Gun Court (R. M. Division) and •The Tax Court Ministry of Justice To provide the legal and policy framework within which justice services are efficiently and effectively delivered to all. Project Objectives To collect, collate, store and disseminate accurate and timely information to all required sources on behalf of the Jamaican Judiciary. For example, to such sources as the Jamaica Crime Observatory (JCO), the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the Ministry of Justice and the Coexistence and Citizen Security Standardized Regional Indicator System. ? ?

There is presently no statistical unit based at the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court of Jamaica or in the Resident Magistrates Courts. The responsibility for data collection and storage is carried out by the Strategic Planning, Policy Research and Evaluation Division of the Ministry of Justice. Important This project will enable the formation of a Court Statistics Unit/Department to be established at the Supreme Court of Jamaica and this unit will be able to assist in fulfilling the mandates of the Jamaica Crime Observatory and the Coexistence and Citizen Security Standardized Regional Indicator System.

Functions Collate, store and disseminate accurate and timely data to all required sources. Analysis of data to inform policies for Jamaica’s development Grant the public access to specified data via the Supreme Court’s website. www. sc. gov. jm Chief Justice, Database Administrator, Statistician (Full Access) Court Administrators, Judges (Partial Privileges to Summary Data) Supervisors (Partial Privileges to Summary Data) Data Entry Clerks and Other clerks (partial access including data entry privileges) The Public (viewing privileges) ? ? ? ? ? System Name : Judicial Enforcement System (JEMS).

Designed for advanced court functionality to initiate, maintain, track and calendar cases with efficiency through to the disposition. Increased accountability, productivity and enhanced efficiency in the courts. Features of the Judicial Enforcement System (JEMS) Real Time Processing and Scheduling of cases for court Performs task in real time such as rescheduling cases and updating files in court. Automated Court Processes Allows the court to define and automate virtually any simple procedure which will minimize training needs and room for errors in the system.

It also will improve efficiency and accuracy of the courts’ workflow processes. Court Document Generation Allows the system to design and print any number of forms or other documents including outputting data entered into JEMS. Advanced Information Sharing Supports multiple court agencies through facilitating information sharing and the duplication of entry is minimized. This feature also supports the setting up of security levels and restrictions within the system. Advanced Technology Add-Ons The software fully integrates with add-ons such as imaging, e-signatures, e-filing, Pocket JEMS and mobile JEMS.

About two (2) years ago JEMS was introduced in the Resident Magistrate’s Court in Clarendon as a pilot project. At that time the plan was to use the server at the Supreme Court as the storage area for court data. Nodes would link the server at the Supreme court with computers in the Resident Magistrates Court. However, there is currently no interconnectivity between the courts and a wide area network is now needed to link all courts. JEMS was recently upgraded at the Supreme Court and training is currently taking place for all court personnel.

The staff of the Resident Magistrates Courts will need to be trained to use the system. ? ? ? ? Data is presently collected manually from the court sheets by assigned staff members in all the courts across the island, based on requests from the Ministry of Justice and other entities. Supreme Court and Circuit Courts Data is collected manually from the court sheets at the end of the term and sent to the Ministry of Justice. The court is attended by one clerk per court which makes it extremely difficult for data entry especially in courts in which cases are set for mention ,where the volume of work is heavy.

Gun Court Data is collected manually from the court sheets on a quarterly basis. This collection process is fraught with difficulties and may result in inaccurate figures because of the volume of work presently in the Gun Court. The Gun Court currently handles 25-30 new cases per week. The process of entering cases into JEMS had commenced in the Gun Court but that process had to be stopped because of the volume of work and lack of equipment (computers, data entry personnel etc. ). Resident Magistrates Court ? Data is collected daily from court sheets or whenever the need arises.

However the court sheets are usually in court during the days and unavailable to the staff during working hours. ? Handles over 125 listed cases on a weekly basis, depending on the parish in which the court is situated. ? Except in the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew where there is a designated Traffic Court The Resident Magistrates Courts handle traffic cases which run into the hundreds on a weekly basis. ? ? ? ?

No such analysis is currently being undertaken by the Jamaican Court System Court Management Services recently assumed the mantle of directing the development of the Jamaican Court System from the Ministry of Justice It is envisioned that with the genesis of this programme and the full implementation of the Court Management Services, the courts will now be empowered to conceptualize and implement its own research policies, which would include delinquency analysis methodologies However, JEMS will be able to capture demographic data on recidivism ? Due to the entry of the Jamaican society into the information age more accurate data is now being required by various entities as well as International Agencies.

Consequently, there is now an urgent need for the courts to manage their own databases and be involved in the production, storage and dissemination of that data. ? They must now be equipped to assist the research process in developing policies for the Jamaican Citizenry. ? There are various legislations and regulations requiring periodic forwarding of reports, returns and notices to external agencies relating to children for example but difficulties are being experienced by the courts in fulfilling their obligations due to lack of resources. • Number of cases for trial in that term • Number of cases disposed of during the term.

• Number of cases traversed to another term • Number of cases in which Nolle Prosequis are entered • Number of cases transferred • Bench Warrants Issued • Probation Orders granted • Guilty Pleas taken Ruling Cases D. P. P. Investigation (J. C. F) Supreme Court M. O. J. Other agencies Complaints Cases Investigation (J. C. F. ) Resident Magistrate Court ( Clerk of Courts) Ruling The above diagram shows the information flow for the Supreme Court and Resident Magistrates Court for criminal matters. 700 635 600 530 500 400 408.

344 300 Total Kgn & St. Andrew 281 248 200 282 167 100 14 0 Rape Carnal Abuse 36 Incest 36 41 Indecent Assault Buggery Abduction Total Other Areas of Jamaica 300 255 246 250 200 158 150 Total Kgn & St. Andrew 101 100 107 97 75 46 50 5 18 8 20 0 Rape Carnal Abuse Incest Indecent Assault Buggery Abduction Total Other Areas of Jamaica Divisions 2010 Number 2011 Number Kingston Central 11-15 3 11-15 5 Kingston East 16-20 3 11-15 16 Kingston West 11-15 4 11-15 4 St. Andrew Central 11-15 9 11-15 11 St. Andrew North 11-15 9 11-15 2 St. Andrew South 11-15 13 11-15 13 THE END!