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Cabinet Introduces Bill to Restructure the Administration of the High Courts

Cabinet gave its recommendation for the Attorney General to introduce a bill to restructure the administration of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal with the introduction of the Senior Courts of Belize. The Senior Courts Bill is an amalgamation of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act and the Court of Appeals Act. It seeks to restructure the court’s administration system by making the office of the Chief Justice the administrative leader for both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. It also seeks to introduce new officeholders such as Senior Judges in the Civil and Criminal Divisions of the Supreme Court, the Chief Registrar, Masters, and Judicial Assistants. Our Newsroom spoke with the Minister of Education, Francis Fonseca, who explained what cabinet seeks to achieve with the introduction of this bill.

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education, Culture, E-Governance, Science & Technology: “It’s a part of the Attorney General’s Ministry’s efforts to really to restructure the judiciary to make it more efficient, to make it more effective. So it’s really bringing together the legislation. We have two pieces of legislation that really guide the work of the courts and, I mean, it’s really bringing those together under one Bill called the Senior Courts Bill. So, you know, I think it’s progressive. I think it’s a move in the right direction aimed at really strengthening the effectiveness of the judiciary and having one head, if you like, of the judiciary. 

Through the bill, specialized divisions in the Supreme Court, such as a Constitutional and Public Law Division, Family and Trust Law Division, Commercial Law Division, and such other divisions as the Chief Justice from time to time may find necessary will be introduced. The bill also seeks to remove marital fault grounds for divorce proceedings and to provide for gender-neutral provisions concerning divorce and matrimonial proceedings.