PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — Antiquated systems have long been the bane of legal practitioners in the Caribbean, contributing to severe case backlogs, expensive legal services and debilitating delays.
In 2016, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) established APEX as a not-for-profit agency to deliver capacity building and technology-based solutions to improve justice delivery for Caribbean courts, law offices and related agencies.
APEX seeks to address the peculiar needs of Caribbean courts and to advance the development of the region’s judicial ecosystem through its Curia Court Management System. Its governing body comprises chief justices, attorneys general, bar association heads and lawyers drawn from across the Caribbean.
Key priorities of APEX are to:
1. Implement and support court technology solutions and services for Caribbean courts;
2. Deliver training and capacity-building programs to support accelerated adoption and integration of technology-enabled services in Caribbean courts;
3. Facilitate development of a region-wide “ecosystem” for court service innovation and support.
CCJ president, Sir Dennis Byron, said the new agency enables Caribbean countries to digitise the recording of proceedings, thereby making the judicial system more accurate and efficient.
“In many of our courts, the judge or the magistrate takes a manual record of proceedings. This slows down proceedings to the speed at which the judge is recording. It does not produce a complete or completely accurate record. Judges’ time and energy is taken up by trying to take those notes,” Byron said.
Bevil Wooding, executive director of APEX, encouraged Caribbean states to take advantage of the new technology which has been specifically tailored to the Caribbean legal system.
“The dream of having Caribbean courts benefit from Caribbean solutions for the vexing and persistent challenges in the administration and dispensation of justice is now a reality.
“The next step will be for leaders in the justice sector throughout the region to take full advantage of the new technology and the new services now available via APEX to enable Caribbean court and justice sector excellence,” Wooding said.
Barbados, Belize, Guyana, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda are among the places where courts and public and private law offices have adopted technology developed by APEX for electronic case filing, case management and court performance measurement.