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BRIDGETOWN – Between October 1st, 2021 and January 17th, 2022 the Canadian Government funded Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice) Project will be conducting a Situational Analysis of the Magistrates’ Courts of Belize to identify areas of legislative reform needed to improve the overall Magistrates’ Court system. This initiative is being conducted under the terms of an agreement between the Project and the Honourable Magali Young, SC, Attorney General of Belize.

His Lordship, the Hon. Dennis Morrison, President of the Court of Appeal of the Turks and Caicos Islands, former President of the Court of Appeal of Jamaica and former judge of the Belize Court of Appeal; and Mr. Godfrey Smith, former Judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and private practitioner in Belize have been retained by the Project to complete the situational analysis which will include the views and opinions of persons in the justice sector, deficiencies in the current legislative framework; the needs for a code of ethics for magistrates; the need for sentencing guidelines; the feasibility of establishing specialized jurisdictions within the Magistrates’ Court system and identify procedural deviations in the system.

Preliminary discussions between Mr. Smith and the Hon. Chief Justice and the Honourable Attorney General have already taken place and others in the justice sector are expected to be interviewed within the coming weeks to ascertain their views on the current system and areas of concern. Once the situational analysis is completed, it will be shared with the Attorney General and select stakeholders for discussion.

IMPACT Justice is indeed pleased to be able to partner with the Honourable Attorney General of Belize on this important area of reform.

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