Night court 'a success' despite initial protests
Manama, January 20, 2014
A new system that involves court hearings being held at night has been branded a success, despite initial protests by lawyers.
The pilot scheme, which got underway on October 30, meant that some of the courts will run during the evening from 4pm to 9pm, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
It is part of a radical plan to overhaul the country's justice system by speeding up cases and reducing pressure on staff.
Details of the plan and achievements made by Supreme Judiciary Council members, who have been in office for 100 days, were revealed at a press conference held yesterday at the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry.
"I spoke to the lawyers who complained about the night hearings and some of them agreed the plan has been a success so far, accepting that it has eased pressure," said council chairman Salem bin Mohammed Al Kuwari.
"Some of them admitted that they initially refused the plan due to personal reasons.
"But now they realise it was benefiting the court and their clients, who receive more privacy during evening hearings.
"Sharia Courts and other courts will also join the evening times soon."
He was responding to a petition signed by 200 lawyers last month rejecting the system.
Al Kuwari said the council also plans to overhaul the Juvenile Court and appoint additional judges.
"We will remove the judge's bench at the Juvenile Court to make the courtroom suitable for children so they don't feel intimidated," he explained.
"An extra courtroom will also be established in the Cassation Court to ease pressure on judges reviewing many cases.
"The Supreme Judiciary Council has also held meetings with the Supreme Council for Women to solve problems faced by couples at the Family Reconciliation Unit before they decide to file a case at the Sharia Court.
"A meeting was held with the Interior Ministry to establish rooms where suspects can be remanded in custody inside the court complex.
"Meetings also were conducted with lawyers and the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society. We have decided to establish a special department dedicated to human rights."
Al Kuwari said appointing Egyptian judges in Bahrain and establishing a specialised court at the Traffic Directorate were some of the achievements made by the council between September 26 and January 3.
"The accomplished achievements are summoning judges from the Supreme Judiciary Council in Egypt to help in cases here; establishing a court at the Traffic Directorate; giving judges health insurance; appointing future judges; and providing a one-month bonus to judges in December," he added.
"Also around 15,000 cases have been finalised as a specialised office was established at the ministry for policemen to finalise court verdicts instead of having to go back and forth to the Public Prosecution building for follow up." - TradeArabia News Service