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ADDRESS OF THE HON. CHIEF JUSTICE, SIR ISAAC HYATALI, T.C. - page 2 / 17

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1965 LAW TERM In his 1965 address, he mentioned the large number of cases which was awaiting trial at Independence in 1962 “for upwards of five years – some as many as seven to ten years”, and to the fact that the backlog was steadily declining to a manageable size.

1966 LAW TERM But in 1966, he lamented the fact that for the first time since independence, the backlog of civil cases could not be cut down, and revealed that the arrears in criminal cases had risen from 412 to 704.

1968 LAW TERM In 1968, the year when he retired from the Bench as Chief Justice, he disclosed that the untried cases in the civil lists at the opening of term numbered 615 but that this was 138 less than in 1962 even though the number of cases entered for trial during that period had increased by some 87%. The arrears in the criminal list then stood at 524.

TREND CONTINUED The statistics of subsequent years show some anomalies, but what is certain, is that the trend of previous years continued unabated both in the regime of his successor Sir Hugh McShine from 1968-70 and in 1970-2 when Mr. Justice Phillips performed the functions of Chief Justice.

PRACTICE DISCONTINUED When I assumed the mantle of this office, I discontinued the practice of enumerating the number of cases completed by the Judges, and instead, I projected plans and programmes for improvement and reforms in the administration of justice. I did so, because I thought it far better to do this, than to parade figures reflecting the energy and dedication of members of the Bench, which to me, was never in doubt.

But because one or two Judges were guilty of protracted delays in delivering reserved judgments, all the members of the Judiciary were roundly and unfairly criticised in 1974

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