Comprehensive Review of the Jamaican Justice System


Jamaica’s justice system has been challenged to keep up with the changing social and economic conditions in the country and to be responsive to the current needs of the public. There has been a great increase in the demands on the justice system of Jamaica as a result of a general growth in population, as well as the emergence of a variety of new social problems that have led to greater use of the courts.

Jamaica is not alone in facing challenges to its justice system. Most of the larger Commonwealth countries, including Britain, Canada, and Australia, have been compelled to conduct comprehensive reviews of their civil and criminal justice systems and to introduce major reforms. Jamaica has incorporated in its own justice system some of the recommended procedures and best practices that have resulted from these reviews. However, every country is unique and not all of the solutions to problems in one country are applicable to another. There is clearly a need for Jamaica to conduct its own comprehensive review of its justice system and to design its own reform and modernization program, tailored to the Jamaican context.

Project Objectives

The Project has inquired into the state of the justice system on a comprehensive basis and has developed strategies and mechanisms to facilitate the modernization of the justice system so that it is better able to meet the current and future needs of Jamaicans. A modern justice system will be more efficient, accessible, accountable, fair and able to deliver timely results in a cost-effective manner. The Project has made practical achievable recommendations to attain this objective.

The Project design had been based on three pillars of systemic change processes: the sharing of expertise and experience, participatory processes, and capacity development.

Terms and Reporting

The Project began operations in September 2006 and submitted a final report on June 30, 2007.