July 23, 2014

Magistrates now addressed as “your honour”

Magistrates across the Eastern Caribbean must now be referred to as “your honour” and no longer “your worship”.

A practice note entitled Magistrates Style and Title and Dress In Court signed by retired chief justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Sir Hugh Rawlins on July 30th, 2012 is the cause for this change.

Acting Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Janice Pereira explained during her inaugural speech in observance of the 2012/2013 law year on Monday that this is one of the steps taken by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court geared at greater integration of the magistracy into the judiciary.

“Over the past year, the court’s main focus has been the procurement of funds for the completion of the main program of events leading to the greater integration of the magistracy into the judiciary”.

The practice note which took effect on September 1st, 2012, applies to all magistrate courts in the jurisdiction of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court where magistrates preside.

Its purpose, Justice Pereira explained, is to “change the form of address of the magistrates with the intention of promoting uniformity in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, in the style and title of magistrates and to permit magistrates to wear robes when presiding in court and at other official functions”.

As a result of this note, magistrates should now be addressed as “Your Honour” instead of “Your Worship” and that magistrates may be robed on the bench.

“This though seemingly a small step, is indeed momentous as it is one step closer to the full integration of the magistracy,” she noted.

The court is also working on a review of salaries for magistrates.

According to the acting chief justice, a comparative study was conducted on salaries and emoluments of magistrates across the nine member states and territories with a view to harmonizing and standardizing salaries and remuneration packages across member states and territories.

“Issues relating to remuneration are extremely important if we are to attract the quality of persons into the judiciary to continue achieving the desired improvement in access to justice”.

“In the coming law year, the court will continue to aggressively pursue this project with the eventual aim of achieving full integration of the magistracy to the judiciary”.

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