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LocalNews Court must maintain high level of efficiency by: – September 18, 2012 Share Sharing is caring! Tweet Share 25 Views one comment Share Acting Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Janice PereiraActing Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Janice Pereira, the first female to have been elevated to this position, has emphasized the need for the Court to maintain a high level of efficiency despite the shrinking budgets and financial difficulties. Today, September 18th marked the commencement of the 2012/2013 law term in all nine member countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).Pereira who noted that her “honour and privilege” to serve the region, pledged to continue the good work commenced by her predecessors “towards the administration and advancement of justice for the citizenry of the OECS and the wider Caribbean”.She also expressed her gratitude to retired chief justice Sir Hugh Rawlins for the “unrelenting service” which he gave to the Court. “He instinctively gave dedicated service and now joins the rank of the many great chief justices who have served the court as remarkable jurists and inspiring mentors. Sir Hugh places an indelible mark on our jurisprudence through his erudite judgments and formidable leadership which guided us over the past four years”.In her inaugural address themed; “Improving efficiency and integrity in the administration of justice in times of economic adversity”, she explained that despite financial difficulties the court ought to maintain a high level of efficiency.“The judiciary of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, although faced with resulting challenges; one of which is the absence of the optimum court of judges, will continue to maintain its efficiency with the available resources. I wish to emphasize that the quality of justice will not be compromised, not even in these harsh and difficult economic times”.She noted further that the judiciary “has embarked on several initiatives to help improve efficiency in the face of the world wide economic adversity which has impacted our member states and territories”. Pereira explained that the Court has been working assiduously towards improving the access of information to the public.“Efficiency and integrity are ingrained in the mission and vision statements of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court to serve its member states by providing access to its system of justice that is accountable and independent in a prompt, fair and effective manner. Inherent in the access to justice, is the guarantee that each citizen is able to acquire the necessary knowledge, understanding, awareness and ability to exercise his or her right to justice, through formal as well as informal institutions”.Pereira acknowledged public education and community outreach as a “crucial factor” in their quest to “facilitate this knowledge, understanding and awareness” of the system of justice. “In our bid to maintain accountability and transparency, information about the Court should always be accessible and pertinent to those whom we serve so that they can better understand the workings of our Court”. She highlighted the Court’s website www.eccourts.org as a “very practical and economical tool” in providing timely updates on judgments at the high court and court of appeal levels, reporting decisions from the Privy Council, relevant court forms, Civil Procedure Rules and amendments, practice directions, sittings of the various courts and detailed accounts of the Court’s initiatives. According to the acting chief justice, in an effort to “promote efficiency and integrity and maintain the trust and confidence of the people of our region, the Court is “committed to initiating, supporting and participating in programs” which can enhance the public understanding of the law and the judicial system.This will include education on the “role and functions of the court and the way judges rule according to law” which she believes can assist in keeping member states informed and confident in a system that equitable and embraces equal access to all.Consequently, the Court will embark on a number of outreach programs within this new law term with a view to promoting “court transparency”. “It is intended that this initiative include educational programs for school, media, counsel; using forums such as television features, radio interviews, news paper articles, judges discussions and the like and conferences. It is also proposed to have bulletins as is necessary published on our website all in an effort to continue improving access to justice and maintain confidence in the judiciary”. Members of the public were implored to visit the website so as to keep informed about the Court and its programs. Dominica Vibes News