Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer. Photo credit: FFA.

Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer. Photo credit: FFA.

The 2017 legal year has officially opened on the theme “To build a just and fair society by improving the delivery of justice services”.

Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer says the theme is a salutary of the reason for the judiciary’s existence as a corporate entity and key stakeholder in Government.

Chief Justice Palmer spoke at length on observations and future directions of the justice sector, suggesting priorities for this year and beyond.

He reveals a priority project for the national judiciary this year is the establishment of a National Judicial Services Bill.

“I understand a draft legislation for the establishment of a National Judicial Services Bill has already been in circulation and ding the rounds from the learned Attorney General’s chambers. I trust it might reach the dome house at Vavaya Ridge anytime in the first half of this year.

Chief Justice Palmer says there are some who think the bill will be extraordinarily expensive and might cause a diversion of funds from the justice sector.

But he reminds the administration of justice is not cheap and has never been.

“It is time however for the importance and significance of the Judiciary as the third arm of Government to be given due recognition and not mere lip service. As the third arm, it must be given sufficient and adequate funding to be able to carry out its duties well and not starved. Whenever we wish to embark on any new project or activity, it always seems to be a struggle to get things moving. At times, a response is received only when things are about to collapse on us.

The National Judicial Services Bill will allow the administration of the courts to move into a more self-governing organisational model.

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