The judicial system in Jamaica is now seeking to become certified with the International Organisation of Standardisation (ISO) to maintain the accountability and sustainability of its court systems.
Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, who was speaking at a media briefing on Friday (March 10), noted that the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court, Hanover and St Thomas parish courts will be the first set of courts to begin the process of ISO certification.
While he did not provide a time frame for the commencement of certification, he said that this initiative will involve the documentation of the court processes of the court’s daily operation.
“One of the critical things of ISO certification is that you have to subject yourself to an audit annually and then you are re-certified every three years.” By this he said is one of the many ways that the court is holding itself accountable.
The move to modernise court recording systems
Jamaica’s court recording system is also set to undergo digital modernisation, this is a shift from using typewriters to record court evidence to the use of digital technology.
“The truth of the matter is that the way in which evidence is recorded in the parish courts and also in the Supreme Court has become a bit dated, that is just the plain truth of the matter and so this is why there is the drive to move towards a digital recording system,” he said.
According to the chief justice, this initiative will not only require an investment towards digital equipment but a cultural change in how the courtrooms are operated.
“For a digital recording to work efficiently and effectively, it means that the courtrooms will become virtually as silent as the grave,” Sykes indicated.
The modernisation of the court recording system will also create new job opportunities such as that of a digital recording clerk, who will be trained to annotate the records of court data.
Sykes said that:” we have also developed a job description for a new occupational group known as transcriptionists, so these persons will coming to our courts certainly in the next 12 to 18 months if not before and that will go a far way in eliminating this problem of delaying transcripts or unavailable transcripts…”