Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court

It has been said in many quarters, and I agree, that the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules 2000 has positively impacted civil practice in all jurisdictions in our Member States and Territories for all the stakeholders – the judiciary, practitioners and litigants. A validation of this view could be had from a comparative analysis and examination of the effectiveness and efficiency levels of the civil practice in other jurisdictions operating under the old or dissimilar civil procedure regimes, or put simply, those who continue to operate using the old rules. Although the disposition time of matters in the civil jurisdiction has been reduced since the introduction of these Rules, has it been significant enough? Has the backlog been effectively addressed? Are the Rules being applied as they should? Are there other factors contributing to the backlog? Has the Court been sufficiently equipped and otherwise resourced to mitigate or ameliorate against those other factors? These questions continue to be the subject of much debate. Some argue that any current backlog is more a consequence of the increase in civil litigation coupled with a disproportionate lack of human and other resource issues rather than problems inherent in the civil procedures or the manner in which the rules are to be applied. A number of these matters are not directly within the Court’s control. I assure you that the Court continually assesses and seeks to find ways to implement more effective court management techniques to enhance its efficiency.

(Excerpt from the Chief Justice’s Address, Opening of the Law Year, 2014

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