Appellate Court making progress in case disposals

THE Court of Appeal last year disposed of 193 appeals, having carried over 1,734 pending from 2018, and seeing 276 new filings during the course of the year.

This left 1,827 appeals pending, according to the court’s annual report for 2019 which was laid in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

“In 2018, with the pending figure at 1,734 appeals — inclusive of 340 outstanding criminal transcripts and 401 outstanding civil records of proceedings — the ‘true’ pending figure for 2018 was 993. By comparison at the close of 2019, the number of pending appeals was 1,817 [but] with 412 outstanding criminal transcripts, and 427 outstanding civil transcripts, the ‘true’ pending figure would be 978,” the court said.

The court said it disposed of an overall 34.45 per cent more matters than it did in the previous year, even while there was a 24 per cent drop in the number of motions/applications filed.

It said a total of 293 matters being disposed of, compared to 270 in 2018. Furthermore, the court said it disposed of 100 applications/motions compared to 130 in 2018; 85 criminal appeals were dealt with, compared to 73 in the previous year; and 104 civil appeals were dealt with, 41 more than 2018.

Meanwhile, the court had 40 reserved judgements outstanding for the year, and a total of 74 judgements overall. Three of those were reserved from 2015, one from 2016, and 24 from 2018. Additionally, there were a total of 37 outstanding written judgements in 2019, five of which were from 2016, seven in 2017, five in 2018 and 20 for 2019. At the same time, 124 written judgements were delivered — three per cent less than in 2018.

These account for judgements delivered in writing at the time of the making of the court’s order, oral judgements that were later reduced to writing, and written reasons for judgements previously delivered.

The report also showed that outstanding civil records of proceedings amounted to 427, over the tally of 401 in 2018. The matters filed date back to 2003.

“The number of outstanding civil records of proceedings from the Supreme Court has increased by 6.48 per cent over the previous year,” the court noted, “As with 2018, there are a number of years in which no change in the figures have been recorded. Only 8.75 per cent of the records of proceedings outstanding at the end of 2018 were received.”

During the review period, 191 matters (applications and appeals) were disposed of within six months, the report said, with 63.35 per cent disposed of on the same day of the hearing, and another 26 per cent within a week.

— Alphea Saunders

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