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Chief Justice Ivor Archie says the
judiciary has been able to improve the
delivery of justice under his tenure,
where previously there were matters
awaiting determination for as many
as ten years, the more recent picture
is one in which any matter before the
court for more than three years is an
In a statement issued yesterday, Archie
referred to the latest statistics from the
Court of Appeal which show there are 37
matters awaiting decisions, with 18 of these
for more than one year.
Two of the 18 have to be rescheduled
because of the death of Justice Wendell
Kangaloo. Of the remaining 16, Archie is
a part of the panel in five matters.
Notices have already been issued inform-
ing the parties that judgment will be deliv-
ered in four of them next Wednesday,
including the cases of Lester Pitman and
In addition, a further two of those matters
will also be delivered before December 20.
Of the 18 matters reserved for judgment
in 2013, notices have been issued to the
parties that decisions in nine of them will
be delivered on or before December 18.
In summary, therefore, 16 reserved deci-
sions will be given before December 20,
2013, he said.
"The task of delivering judgments in a
timely manner presents different challenges
in the Court of Appeal when compared to
the High Court. Even though one judge
may be designated to produce a draft deci-
sion, all three must collaborate and come
collectively to a decision," the statement
Statistics previously published in the
judiciary s 2013 annual report and available
on the judiciary s Web site, show that the
number of civil appeals disposed of (exclud-
ing non-compliance matters) rose by more
than 150 per cent from 82 in 2007-2008,
to 217 in 2012-2013.
The current chief justice assumed office
in 2008. During the same period, the clear-
ance rate (i.e. the ratio of matters disposed
of in a given year to matters filed) rose from
0.6 to 1.05 per cent.
At Monday s meeting of judges and mas-
ters it was agreed:
• By March 31, 2014, all decisions out-
standing for more than 12 months at that
date will be delivered
• By July 30, 2014, all decisions out-
standing for more than six months at that
date will be delivered
Court of Appeal and High Court judges
and masters will meet again in January 2014
to discuss further, and implement measures
to deal systematically with the issue of delay
in the delivery of judgments, with further
meetings scheduled for March and July
2014 to monitor progress.
Busy period ahead for judges...
Archie lays out
Tell it on the
concert at the
TELLING IT IN SIGN
On November 25, two death row inmates,
Lester Pitman and Gerard Wilson, took legal
action against Archie, accusing him of violating
their constitutional rights over his failure to
deliver their judgments for close to four years.
The convicted killers even threatened to remove
the chief justice from office for what they termed
was judicial misconduct.
Archie, who was among the three judges who
heard their appeals, had reserved judgment in
March 2010 in Pitman s case and in November
2009 in Wilson s appeal.
Both judgments are listed to be delivered next
Last Monday, Archie convened a meeting at
the Hall of Justice, Port-of-Spain, of almost all
the 40 Supreme Court judges and three masters
of the High Court, to discuss the public criticism
levelled against the judiciary over its failure to
dispense justice speedily.
At that meeting, Archie, 53, spoke of people
plotting against him to force him out of office,
but assured he would not allow any pressure
to cause him to demit office before his retirement
age of 65, according to reliable judicial sources.
Archie told the judges he was aware that some
people were "caucusing on the weekends," but
did not identify who were his conspirators, one
judiciary insider said.
Judicial sources said Archie was more than
likely pointing fingers at fellow judges who have
been critical of him for failing to perform effec-
tively, or ensure that those judges who were
failing to perform were disciplined.
In his statement yesterday, Archie said he
was "surprised at widespread reports of a plot
to have him demit office."
"No such assertion against the state was
made," the statement said.
At the meeting, Justice Andre des Vignes, in
a two-page prepared statement, chastised Justice
Carol Gobin, for her recent statement to the
National Constitution Reform Commission. (See
Gobin defended her decision to speak out in
her personal capacity during the judges meeting
Des Vignes himself was the subject of public
criticism over delays in the hearing of a high-
profile civil case of the Urban Development
Corporation against its former executive chair-
man Calder Hart.
He publicly defended himself earlier this
month, saying that several factors led to an
apparent delay in Udecott s $65 million law-
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