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Kawaley thanks Attorney-General

Chief Justice Ian Kawaley (File photograph)

Chief Justice Ian Kawaley issued a statement this afternoon thanking Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, for new court rules and legislation to improve court proceedings.

Ms Simmons, the Government Senate Leader, “safely piloted” the Evidence Audio-Visual Link Act 2018 Bill through the Upper House on Wednesday, Mr Justice Kawaley said.

The Act will allow remote testimony from vulnerable witnesses during court cases.

Mr Justice Kawaley’s statement came after he issued a broadside on Thursday that laid the blame for declining court staffing on successive Attorneys-General.

Acknowledging the criticism, which prompted Ms Simmons to respond that 52 of the 66 posts at the Judicial Department had been filled, Mr Justice Kawaley said: “In light of recent complaints made by him about the lack of support on the administrative front, the Chief Justice considers that it is important for him to public express his appreciation for enhanced legislative support the Honourable Attorney-General and her Chambers have provided to the Judiciary since her appointment in relation the Evidence (Audio-Visual Link) Act and the drafting and publication of new Court rules.”

The Act will cut costs, protect witnesses and address “security concerns about bringing certain prisoners to court”, he said.

“It is an enhanced version of an outline legislative proposal first made by the Judiciary in December 2012.

“The Chief Justice acknowledges the dynamism shown by the Attorney-General in bringing this longstanding legislative project to a successful conclusion in the first year of her present term of office.”

The Chief Justice announced that as of Friday, two sets of court rules had come into effect: the Human Rights (Appeals) Rules 2018, and the Supreme Court (Bermuda Immigration and Protection) (Appeals) Rules 2018.

The Development and Planning (Appeals to the Supreme Court) Rules are expected to come into effect on June 15.