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ADDRESS OF THE HON. CHIEF JUSTICE, SIR ISAAC HYATALI, T.C. - page 6 / 17

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On Executive Responsibility and the Machinery of Justice the learned Chairman remarked that he

“would like to stress… that keeping the machinery of justice in working order is the responsibility of the Executive Government.

It is the people… who suffer if the system goes wrong. It is they who need impartial judges to hold the scales in the disputes not only between one citizen and another, but between one citizen and the State. It is their representatives on the Legislative Council who, on their behalf may be expected to be most concerned if the system goes wrong, and most anxious that it should be kept in working order. To keep it in order is an executive function, and it is for the Executive Council to lay before the Finance Committee or the Legislative Council their proposals for the necessary expenditure or legislation.”

CONDITIONS HAVE WORSENED

That was in 1956 – 22 years ago. The story told by Sir Albert Napier about the Red House then, remains a painfully familiar one today. In fact, the lawyers practicing today in the Courts housed in the Red House, will readily agree, I am sure, that the situation up to the end of July last was far worse than it was in 1956. Indeed, except for the provision of a larger room for the library, the very recent removal of what can only be described as a cesspool in the middle of the Red House, and the release of a little more space to the Judiciary, all the observations of the Committee on Court accommodation at the Red House in 1956, continue to be uncannily accurate.

REPEATED PLEAS FOR IMPROVEMENT

Scan and peruse the addresses made at the opening of each law term as well as the representations made otherwise to the powers that be since 1962, and in them you will discover not only repeated references to the mounting backlog in the civil and criminal lists, but pleas and proposals made in vain for more court buildings, more judges, more habitable surroundings, improved facilities, better equipped libraries, law reform, revision of the 1950 laws, legal aid, county courts to relieve the intolerable pressure on the High Court, a Hall of Justice in Trinidad, a Hall of Justice in Tobago, construction of new magistrates’ courts in Mayaro, Tunapuna, Point Fortin, St. James and San Juan, appeals for a united Bar to strengthen the administration of justice, improvement of the terms and conditions of service of magistrates and other measures designed to improve the machinery of justice throughout the country.

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