New divorce filings are down by 17%, Chief Justice Ivor Archie said as he noted that for the last year, new divorce filings numbered 2,878, “which must be a good thing.” Decrees nisi are also down by ten per cent.
A decree nisi is a court order that does not have any force unless a particular condition is met. Once the condition is met, the ruling becomes a decree absolute (rule absolute) and is binding. Archie gave a brief outline of statistics at the ceremonial opening of the 2017/2018 law term on Monday.
More detailed statistics will be made available when the Judiciary’s annual report is ready in a month or two.
Archie said, “In the final analysis, although this is not the only nor is it necessarily the best way of judging the effectiveness of a judiciary, public perception is influenced by disposition rates.”
In the High Court Criminal Division raw data shows an eight per cent increase of indictments over the previous year and the highest total over the past six consecutive law terms.
“However, it takes five years on average to dispose of 70 per cent of matters filed in any given year, which does not compare favourably with civil matters,” Archie said.
He said he looked forward to increased use of plea-bargaining and trials without jury now that the latter is on the statute books.