Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Dame Janice Pereira has again called on OECS member states to put high on their agenda the introduction of modern family legislation in the law books.
Addressing the opening of the new Law Year last week she said she made a similar call last year, but apparently some member states have not heeded the call.
“Last year I called for the enactment in every member state of modern family law legislation which will provide a foundation for a family division of the court with a more responsive approach to matters relating to family,” she noted. “Some states have heeded the call while others, it has been given less priority.”
Notwithstanding, Pereira said she is making the call again.
“I therefore take this opportunity to renew my call to other member states and territories which have not yet done so to place the family law reform legislation as a priority item on their legislative agenda,” she noted. “The men, women and children of our states deserve it.”
She pointed out that member states can construct edifices to attract tourist and other forms of investement, “but if our very social fabric is broken, then all will inevitably come to naught.”
Pereira pointed out that she is pleased that a Family Division Pilot project in Antigua and Barbuda has gained impetus.
She noted that an entire suite of the Modern Family Law Bill is being finalized on that island and is expected to go before parliament before the end of this year. She added that much progress has also been made in the drafting and review of rules which will govern the practice and procedure in family matters and wide consultation is expected on these rules over the next few months in an effort to have them finalized and adopted in this new Law Year.
Pereira said work is also expected to continue with the major stakeholders to address the policy related issues pertinent to the establishment of the family division project.
“This remains a high priority on the court’s agenda,” she pointed out.