Belize is the victim of a prodigious legal problem that seriously affects the rights of all Belizeans. Politicians have allowed the devastating problem to continue even though it would take very little effort to resolve it.
The problem arises from the Courts’ failure to deliver judgments in a timely manner. There have been cases where the Court did not deliver its judgment for 4 or more years after the case was heard and submitted for decision. Such a delay can have the effect of making the belated judgment unenforceable.
During the past year the Hon. Justice Jacob Wit of the Caribbean Court of Appeal denounced such delays. During past years there have been articles in the media setting forth the problems from such delays.
The politicians have failed to take any action to resolve the problem. Consequently, during the January 14, 2013 opening of the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice, Hon. Kenneth Benjamin, spoke of the pressing issues of the Judicial System and broached the serious problem of justice delayed. He spoke of the timeliness of judgments and the effectiveness of the enforcement of delayed judgments.
The problem is serious, because justice delayed is justice denied. The politicians’ continued failure to correct the problem is inexcusable, as the correction is simple. Other jurisdictions have had the problems of delayed judgments and resolved their problems in very simple manners. The State of California’s law resolving the problem is as follows:
68210. Affidavit prerequisite to receipt of salary:
“No Judge of a court of record shall receive his salary unless he shall make and subscribe before an officer entitled to administer oaths, an affidavit stating that no cause before him remains pending and undetermined for 90 days after it has been submitted for decision.”
The solution is so simple, the question arises as to why such a law hasn’t been enacted. It should be a priority for the Belize Bar. Anyone who had an interest in justice and the welfare of Belize would recognize that immediate legislation should be made to rectify the problem and prevent further injustices.
Judge of the Superior Court, Retired