Situation analysis of the Magistrates’ Courts of Belize on-going

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Between October 1, 2021 and January 17, 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 Magali Young, SC, attorney-general of Belize.

His Lordship, 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; 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 Smith; chief justice and the attorney-general have already taken place. 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 attorney-general of Belize on this important area of reform.

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