THE ASSEMBLY of Southern Lawyers (ASL) has written to the Chief Justice asking for the proposed time frame for the physical reopening of the courts.
In a letter to CJ Ivor Archie, ASL president Michael Rooplal said the assembly has been inundated with queries from members on the proposed physical reopening of the courts and the guidelines and measures to be put in place for court appearances.
On April 27, Archie amended previous practice directions for the operation of all courts because of the covid19 regulations imposed by the government. The measures were to take effect from March 16 to May 18. It included provisions for virtual court hearings and the payment of fines and other fees through the Court Pay app.
Several cases were adjourned to various dates in June, July, and August, and liquor licenses were extended to June 15. On June 1, the Judiciary is expected to advise the public on licensing committee hearings. The government began lifting restrictions in phases with the first phase which started on May 11. The other phases will be broken up over a six-week period.
Public Health Regulations will end on May 24. Rooplal said based on the prime minister’s announcement of the phased adjustments to the stay-at- home restrictions, ASL members were asking about plans for the reopening of court.
He also commended the Judiciary for the successful introduction of virtual court hearings and said it was ASL’s “fervent hope they will continue to be used even after the covid19 restrictions are lifted as they have the potential to greatly increase efficiency in the administration of justice.”