Jamaica News: Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Sancia Bennett Templer is welcoming the establishment of Parish Justice Centres across the island.
She said the Centres are an important feature in the blueprint of Jamaica’s modern justice system, as they are intended to make the machinery of justice more accessible and responsive to the needs of those served.
“Every Justice Centre we complete brings to life the vision of making Alternative Dispute Resolution a viable feature of the justice services in this country,” she said.
She was speaking at the recent opening of the St. Andrew Justice Centre in Half Way Tree.
Constructed at a cost of approximately $20 million, with funding provided through an agreement between the Government and the European Union (EU), the new facility is equipped with offices for Restorative Justice and Child Diversion services, as well as office space for the Custos and Centre Manager.
This is the latest centre to be established, as the Ministry of Justice seeks to coordinate alternative dispute resolution activities and enable easier access to justice services by members of the public.
Meanwhile, Mrs Bennett Templer noted that the Parish Justice Centres are a critical strategy in reducing the backlog of cases in the courts.
“It is our mission to improve the delivery of justice services and these centres create an opportunity to bring justice closer to communities and also expand the options available to the communities served,” the Permanent Secretary stated.
Mrs. Bennett Templer pointed out that the justice centres provide a dedicated space and access point to justice services.
“Jamaica is not alone in the promotion of a more dynamic justice system with the expanded use of Alternative Dispute Resolution at its core, as it joins a long list of other jurisdictions developed and developing, many of which have brought together a (variety) of services under the broad umbrella of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms,” she said.
Data from the Ministry of Justice indicate that over the past two years, the number of Justice Centres and the number of services they provide have been growing steadily.
In the 2018/2019 fiscal year, over 1000 restorative justice cases referred from the courts, were successfully resolved.
The parish justice centre exists to facilitate the provision of several Alternative Dispute Resolution Services under one umbrella at the parish level.
The centres accept and coordinate referrals from Courts for Alternative Dispute Resolution services, such as Restorative Justice and Child Diversion.
The other seven justice centres are located in Manchester, St. Elizabeth, Westmoreland, Trelawny, St. Mary, Portland and St. Ann.
Source: JIS News