Acting Chief Justice Kaye Goodridge is urging lawyers and judges to prepare for imminent high-tech changes to the justice system – if they want to lift it out of the “Jurassic” age.
In a speech to the opening ceremony at the Barbados Bar Association conference at Sandals Hotel this morning, Goodridge revealed that the final steps are being taken to introduce e-filing into a legal landscape which continues to be criticised for archaic operations.
“One such initiative is the implementation of e-filing. The Rules Committee met as recently as two days ago to discuss draft rules for e-filing and the technical aspects of the software to be used.
“In addition, the Further Education and Training Committee, headed by Madam Justice Margaret Reifer, ensures that judges are exposed to further education and training through seminars, workshops and conferences, to be better prepared for the changing legal environment.”
The legal community risks dooming the justice system to remain in the dark ages, unless legal practitioners constantly updated their education on the latest advancements in their profession, acting Chief Justice Goodridge declared.
“Continuous legal education is a must in a world of rapidly changing standards, technological developments and artificial intelligence.
“Human intelligence is a necessary criterion of achieving social change but technological development and artificial intelligence are the products of the human brain that facilitates human intelligence.”
Goodridge added: “No one can contemplate the myriad ways in which law can develop, therefore lawyers and judges must prepare themselves to face the challenges of this new era. If we do not, we will find ourselves confined to the Jurassic era.”
She also suggested that judges must shed the aversion to change, an attitude she said has been associated with the judiciary. Instead they must seek to make the justice system relevant in the changing legal landscape, said the top judicial officer.
“Judges need to also keep themselves informed on international conventions and other instruments which establish human rights norms.
“For many years the judiciary was resistant to continuous legal education, but continuous legal education is a must in this world of rapidly changing standards,” Goodridge said.