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Appeal Court to resume in-person sittings

by Pointe Xpress
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The Eastern Caribbean Appeal Court is resuming in-person sittings after it resorted to conducting hearings virtually over the past three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Justice, Dame Janice Pereira, said at the beginning of the Law Year that she was happy that the court will resume in-person sittings, the first of which will take place in Anguilla.

Noting that video conferencing platforms such as ZOOM allowed the Appeal Court to hold sittings in each territory, she also pointed out that these technologies cannot replace the impact of in person sittings.

“It is truly remarkable that this week is the first time that the Appeal Court is having an in-person sitting since March, 2020.

“For our continued productivity in difficult times, these video conferencing tools have been a boon.

“That said, it is recognised that there is no perfect substitute for an in-person courtroom environment, particularly for trials where judges are sometimes required to observe witnesses and manage juries,” she said.

Dame Janice added that across the ECSC member countries and territories, the justice system will continue to see a blend approach of in person and virtual sittings.

“I hope that going forward, we will continue to see increased reliance on this blended approach to court sittings and that eventually, trials in the court rooms will be fully resumed.

The Chief Justice added that the Appeal Court is expected to conduct more frequent sittings once regional air travel becomes easier.

“It has been far too long since we visited many of the member states and territories and we look forward to sittings of the Court of Appeal becoming more commonplace,” she stated.

She made a commitment that the justice system will embrace the lessons learnt over the past three years and to continue adapting to meet new challenges to safeguard a fair, impartial and independent justice system.

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