Sir Albert welcomed the new Judge Justice Stephen Pallaras at the opening of the 2013 Legal Year, Monday.
Justice Pallaras joined the Bench July last year.
“The volume and quality of judicial work discharge by his Lordship since taking up his commission has been outstanding,” the Chief Justice said.
He also thanked all his colleagues on the bench for all their assistance and support to him and dedication to their duties in faithfully discharging their service to the Country.
“Their comity and courtesy is greatly appreciated.”
In addition to that, the Chief Justice also mentioned plans for new court complexes and offices for Gizo, Western Province, and Honiara.
He said they are still working on the plans for expansion of work for these centres.
“In Gizo, we are trying to identify land for the new court buildings.
“And in Honiara, we acquired the former SINU premises and are looking at options to build and expand onto that land.
“We appreciate these will take time and money but the ground work is being prepared and put in place,”Sir Albert said.
He said each year the well of the Court room gets smaller because of increasing numbers of lawyers.
“This year I will be looking into further expanding on the current premises to cater for the increasing workload of the court.
“Office space is now very limited with the increasing demand on the work of the courts, both in terms of judicial and non-judicial staff.”
The Chief Justice said currently the maximum number of judges in the High Court is seven.
“There are two vacancies.”
He added that when confirmation is received of the availability of funds for a Puisne Judge position to be filled, they will proceed to advertise the position.
Sir Albert said he will be looking also to having the limit raised in the light of this increasing workload.
“The significance of these proposed actions always comes back to the pressing issue of judicial productivity.
“There will be little advantages in having more judges and more courts if the overall output of the courts and judges is not maintained at an acceptable level.
With that, the Chief Justice will be looking at the possibility of having Commissioners of the High Court appointed on a short term basis to assist in this, subject of course to the availability of funds.
He said timely disposal of cases and judgments and the clearing of overhanging backlog of cases are the outcomes they hope to achieve through this.
He also added that staff development and training continues to be an important focus for the judicial and non-judicial officers.
“While opportunities may be limited, we will seek to hold in-country training workshops whereby a lot more officers can attend and benefit from.”
By Assumpta Buchanan
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