BRIDGETOWN – July 19, 2022 – Between July 14th and 16th, 2022 the Canadian Government funded Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean (IMPACT Justice) Project hosted a Workshop on Magisterial Practices and Procedures for regional magistrates. This workshop was held at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa, Rockley, Christ Church and attended by participants from the CARICOM countries of Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Grenada, Montserrat (via zoom), St. Lucia (via zoom), and Trinidad and Tobago.
The session was opened by Professor Velma Newton, CBE, SCM, Regional Project Director of the IMPACT Justice Project who provided an overview of the IMPACT Justice Project and mentioned that the workshop for magistrates was being held after the Project was informed that in many countries, magistrates received no formal training before taking on the role.
A team of facilitators from across the justice sector were assembled for the session including, Hon. Mr. Justice Christopher Birch, High Court Judge, Barbados and Former Chief Magistrate who spoke on the role of the magistrate, juvenile offenders and sentencing; Hon. Madam Justice Jo-Ann Barlow, High Court Judge, Guyana, who presented on arraignments and bail; His Honor Rickie Burnett, Senior Magistrate, St. Vincent and the Grenadines who presented on decision writing, witness management and adjournment considerations; Her Honor Zoila Ellis-Browne, Magistrate, St Vincent and the Grenadines, who spoke on fundamentals of civil evidence, and the role of the magistrate in civil matters; Ms. Alifa Elrington, Head, Prosecution Branch, Belize, who addressed the case management conference; Mrs. Sharon Milwood-Moore, Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Jamaica, who reviewed the fundamentals of criminal evidence and Ms. Shirlan Barnwell, Attorney-at-Law, St. Vincent and the Grenadines who delivered a family law practitioners overview on the handling of domestic violence matters, custody and maintenance matters in the Magistrate’s Court.
Overall, all of the presentations were very well received and the participants left with not only an increased toolkit to address many of the challenges that they face daily, but were also reminded of often overlooked matters such as self-care, and work-life balance.
At the conclusion of the presentations and discussions, all in attendance noted that the workshop was a very useful exercise.