Highlights from the CHIEF JUSTICE SPEECH TODAY at the Official Opening of the Legal Year

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The Annual Red Mass on Sunday at St. Francis Cathedral Church.

– The Chief Justice thanked Sir Brian Moree for his three-year leadership of the Courts and wished him all the best on his transition to the COURT OF APPEALS.

– Justice Carolita Bethel has commenced Pre-Retirement and will demit in APRIL 2023.

– Justices Diane Stewart and Sr Justice Indira Charles will begin retirement in August 2023. Justice Charles will act on the Court of Appeal in the absence of Justice Bethel into her retirement.

– Some 50 applicants local and abroad have applied with interest to fill the vacancies of some FIVE Justices on the bench. An official statement will come on the successful candidates to fill the vacancies. Two of the candidates will be assigned to the Commercial and Civil Divisions on Feb 1st, 2023. Another will be assigned to the Criminal Division on Feb 1st, 2023. One will be assigned to the Family Division effective March 1st, 2023. And the fifth Justice will fill the Northern Region assigned to both Criminal and Civil Divisions.

– Magistrates Kara Turnquest and Charlton Smith will be promoted to Sr Magistrates with efect to September 2022.

– Sr. Justice Bernard Turner heads up a backlog reduction committee.

– Justice Deborah Fraser heads a criminal case management reform committee.

– Justice Winder hopes for the establishment of a Sexual Offences Court this year.

– A proposal has been submitted to improve the terms of service for Magistrates and Registrars.

– The New Magistrate Court in Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahama will soon open for operation.

– A new Case Management software was deployed in December 2022. The new software will allow judges and lawyers to have access to case files.

– The Chief Justice said the building is leaking again after repairs just nine years ago and, on December 27th, 2022, the rooms were flooded with water. The building is 100 years old, having been built in 1921.

– The Court Services Bill is making its way to Parliament – this will give the Court greater independence.

– The Chief Justice concluded his remarks by paying respects to the late Ret. Justice Roger Gomez who passed away on Monday.