Its always worth it to visit the Courthouses in Jamaica. Even if you are forced to go as a litigant, it is by far worth it – win or loose. In Jamaica courthouse experience exposes you to an entire different culture, and widens your perspective on life and humanity. In my opinion, getting more persons to enter courtrooms as an observer will save time in court and create a positive impact on the crime levels across the nation.
One main lesson is on your rights as a Jamaican, or visitor to the island, and boundaries. I am still learning, and the more I learn and am exposed to is the more I am convinced I know very little. Still if and when I am in attendance, the information gleaned is always useful and humbling.
AND more importantly, one’s outlook on life changes over time.
The process almost always begins here. In most instances, the matter is filed and a summons received to be served on the other party. There are other reasons to visit a court house however.
Where all the drama unfolds. All who has an issue or wishes to be in support of an issue draw nigh here. Its where actual matters are decided and settled, after three sides to the case are considered – the Plaintiff, The Defendant and the possible.
The police stand tall at the entrances for your security and in some instances information. Some say the best part of the court room experience is hearing the names called by the police as the Judge and clerk indicates who’s next. I personally love to see them busying about ensuring that litigants are seated comfortably, dress properly and standing appropriately in front of the Judge.
The Court Clerk has a critical role as this person stands in the place of an attorney when there is none. The Clerk’s responsibility is to for example ask litigants and witnesses questions as they conduct trial.
A good Clerk asks relevant questions, always shows respect.
The litigants, especially at the lower courts enter the court room by droves unless otherwise arranged by the court staff.
The ruling judge is the star of the courtroom as everything literally revolves around these beamers. Once you enter the courtroom you must pay homage on instinct, and especially because you realise they are humans too, you must in the best interest of the final decision obey all rules of the courtroom. Try in every way not to be a distraction of any sort to the Judge who needs more than peace of mind, time and space to process effectively.
The language although plainest English or native patois, can be confusing and words often to the common man seems to be opposite in meaning to what he has come to accept. Thats where the players of the courtroom come in. The Lawyers have a knack for twisting and turning, but the Judges have a away of stripping away nonsense and jackets to bear the truth.
It all comes down to interpretation swung by perception.
As the drama unfolds daily, do not wait until you have a case in court to attend a court session. If you have a pending court case, make the sacrifice and visit the court. You’ll at least learn how to conduct yourself and a bit about the procedure, so that whether you have an attorney or not, in a way you are set on the journey.
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