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Academic Writing Proposal

In: English and Literature

Submitted By travismais
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CARIBBEAN MARITIME INSTITUTE
Kingston Jamaica

RESEARCH PROPOSAL
“An examination of the Jamaican judicial system and the measures that can lead to a reduction in the high number of outstanding court cases.”

Research Proposal submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the course CPI
To
Lecturer: Mrs. E. Smith-Johnson
By
Travis Mais
December 2012

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section 1
Introduction……………………………………………………………………....3
Statement of the Problem………………………………………………………...3 Rationale………………………………………………………………………...3
Purpose of the Study……………………………………………………………..3
Significance of the Study………………………………………………………..4
Background……………………………………………………………………....4
Section 2
Literature Review………………………………………………………………5-10
Section 3
Methodology…………………………………………………………………..11-14
Section 4
Data analysis…………………………………………………………………….15
Section 5
References………………………………………………………………………16
Section 1
1.0 Introduction
The general purpose of this research is to determine how we can reduce the backlog of court cases and will increase confidence of the court system and the Jamaican citizens. This research has allowed us to identify several solutions to solve this long awaited problem that has been plaguing the Jamaican judicial system.
1.1 Statement of the Problem
“An examination of the Jamaican judicial system and the measures that can lead to a reduction in the high number of outstanding court cases.”
1.2 Rationale
This research topic is a result of the excessive stress placed on both the alleged victims and accused due to significant delays between hearing and judgment.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
Noticeable delays were recognized in the Jamaican judicial system. According to the Society president Noor Blumer ''The memories of witnesses deteriorate as time passes, seriously affecting the veracity of the trial,'' she also stated that, ‘It is particularly hard on accused that have not been granted bail and must remain in remand for lengthy periods without trial. If they are later found to be not guilty or the sentence they do receive would have been less than the time they have already served, it is a serious injustice.

1.4 Significance of the Study
The backlog of court cases impact Jamaica economically and socially; if the suspect is innocent it can affect them psychology and socially. If the crime does not allow for bail to be afforded for the suspect it would deem a cost to the government to keep in jail for the extended period.
1.5 Background
A research was conducted by the society president Noor Blumer where she said that the list of cases was spiraling out of control again. ''I am aware that the listing date for criminal trials is starting to blow out again and I am informed that the latest date the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) is aware of is May 2014,'' she said. As a temporary solution, Ms. Blumer said the government should also consider appointing a criminal master for the Supreme Court, potentially for a set period of two years. ‘The Supreme Court still has an unacceptably long list of reserved judgments to deal with,'' she said. ‘I encourage the Attorney-General to engage temporary judges to allow those judges with long reserved lists to write those judgments. While this will cost money it is an urgent and serious situation.''

Section 2
Review of Literature
In Jamaica outstanding court cases has been a major problem, which has been increasing in high numbers every day due to lack of evidence and witnesses. Our Courts play an essential role in protecting our constitutional rights to equal and due process under the law. Both criminal and civil courts provide the opportunity for the parties to have their cases heard by neutral judges and/or juries. This process ensures that all cases are decided in a fair and consistent manner. Based on the role of the Court, it is fair to say that Courts are at the nucleus of the justice system. Therefore a healthy Court system is important to a healthy justice system.
The judicial system follows British practice Oas.org (2008) with some local variations. Cases may be brought in the first instance before a lay magistrate (justice of the peace), a magistrate, or a judge in the Supreme Court, according to the seriousness of the offense or the amount of property involved. The Supreme Court also has appellate jurisdiction. Final appeal rests with the seven-member Court of Appeals, appointed on the advice of the prime minister in consultation with the leader of the opposition. The attorney general, who need not be a member of parliament, is appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the prime minister. The constitution gives power to the Court of Appeal and the parliament to refer cases to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the United Kingdom. However, Jamaica was among the eight nations (Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago) whose leaders met in Kingston on 9 June 2003 to ratify a treaty to establish the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). A special "gun court" considers cases involving the illegal use or possession of firearms or ammunition. The judiciary is independent but is overburdened and backlogged because of a lack of trained personnel. Recent increases in salaries, training programs for judicial personnel, and improvement in court facilities may eventually serve to improve efficiency and processing of cases. In 1995, to reduce the backlog of cases, the government initiated a night court, but little progress has been achieved almost eight years after the reform.
In a recent article (Braham, 2012) where the Chief Justice, Hon. Zaila McCalla, says no single group can improve the justice system, and called for for a unified effort to clear the backlog of cases. She emphasized that everyone has an interest in seeing that the system works properly and if they unite, “we will see a marked improvement in the justice system”. A total of 588 cases are down for trial during the term, meanwhile, President of the Jamaican Bar Association, Ian Wilkinson, said he had seen recent improvements in the justice system, citing the new judicial guidelines or code of conduct and the disclosure protocol for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions as important steps. He said it is “unfathomable” to see that 340 of the total cases to be brought before the court, he noted that in the last session approximately only one sixth of the 614 cases were disposed of and unless a concerted effort is made by all, he could not see how a dent can be made in the case load.
However the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Lisa Palmer, said this year’s case load represents an 11 per cent increase over 2011. She noted that more cases are being added to the list, which could be a reflection of the state of crime in the country. However, Ms. Palmer said there is some encouragement as the number of cases disposed of during the Easter term was 103, which represented a 139 per cent increase over the similar period last year. She attributed this increase to the implementation of a Task Force in the DPP's office last year and an increase in the number of ‘guilty pleas’. The Deputy DPP also cited a lack of persons willing to serve as jurors, as a challenge.
She noted that Court 8 was unable to sit for several weeks because of an inability to empanel a jury. Of the 543 cases that were brought across to the “Michaelmas term”, 340 are murders; 126 are sexual offences, including rape, carnal abuse and buggery; eight manslaughter cases; 30 wounding with intent; 16 causing grievous bodily harm with intent; three trafficking in persons; eight abductions and two cases of arson among others. Nineteen of the 45 new cases are murder, and 22 are sexual offences, including 10 cases of rape and eight of carnal abuse.
In a recent paper (Saunders, 2012) Progress being made to clear Backlog of Cases said the Chief Justice. The Hon. Zaila McCalla, Mrs. McCalla said that, “from reports and figures being bandied about in the media, one gets the impression that the backlog of cases have not moved." “Indeed, the figures being quoted have been the same for months, if not years, and are not in my view to be relied upon, as they have not been collated by persons with the necessary technical knowledge of the processes of the court,” she added.
Mrs. McCalla pointed out that Judges and The Resident Magistrates dispose of a vast number of cases in the island’s courts on a daily basis, but the fact is that civil and criminal cases come into the system at an alarming rate and the human and physical resources required have not been sufficient to address the situation. Meanwhile, she noted that progress has been made in the efficient management of cases in several parishes, with St. James being one of the parishes in which the criminal case management system was implemented, and that Justice Harris has been involved in that process. “The success rate for matters referred for mediation in that parish is over 80 per cent…the fledgling court management service is now positioning itself to deliver improved service to our courts,”
Mrs. McCalla also informed that a new telephone system has been installed to serve the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, while several projects have been undertaken at the Supreme Court to streamline its operations, and make provisions for improved use of technology, to enhance service delivery to Jamaicans. The Chief Justice acknowledged that one of the major challenges is to eradicate the culture of delay, which she described as “endemic” in the justice system. “This requires the co-operation of all participants in the system. We are continuing the work to implement criminal case management in all courts, and to that end, the criminal case management committee will be conducting workshops for stakeholders in several parishes, over the next few months,” she informed.
In another article (Barrington, 2012) where the United States Ambassador to Jamaica Pamela Bridgewater stated that those persons working in criminal courts are often ill-equipped, understaffed and overwhelmed, but given Jamaica's fiscal challenges, increase in personnel to tackle the problem is unlikely, arguing that her country could help.
"The United States, for example, will provide equipment for courts and training prosecutors that will allow them to work more efficiently and effectively. Relatively small investments in training advisers and digital court reporting equipment can yield good dividends."
The backlog of case and trial postponements contribute to impunity for many of the worst criminal offenders and gangs, an abnormally low rate of violent crime convictions, lack of cooperation by witnesses, frustration among police officers and prosecutors, judges and the public. This comes at significant social cost, drain on the economy and disincentive for tourist and international investment.
Ambassador Bridgewater however said that the United States was encouraged by the Jamaican Government's steps to reduce the backlog by exploring ways to increase the use of plea-bargaining in the local court system.
A plea bargain allowing an accused person to plead guilty to a lesser offence in return for a lesser sentence than would be expected for the offence for which the person is charged. Plea bargaining is an effective, strategic tool, allowing the prosecutor and the accused, through his/her legal representative, to co-operate to the benefit of both the accused and the efforts of the state in infiltrating criminal gangs.
"You will be pleased to know that last month, approximately 100 judges, magistrates, prosecutors, defence attorneys, police officers and government leaders, including (security) Minister Peter Bunting, Minister Mark Golding, Chief Justice Zaila McCalla and Commissioner Owen Ellington spent a Saturday exploring ways to make Jamaica's plea-bargaining system work better. A United States prosecutor facilitated this workshop."
Ambassador Bridgewater also commended Ellington, citing that under his leadership, the police rid a number of corrupt cops from the force.
"I am happy to report that under the leadership of Commissioner Ellington, the JCF's Anti-Corruption Branch has identified and removed officers engaged in corrupt and unethical behaviour: since 2007 when it started, more than 400 JCF officers have been dismissed for corruption or ethical violations."
The plea bargaining law is expected to further bolster the government's fight against crime and will allow for lighter sentences for offenders who co-operate with the authorities by providing information.
Based on the regulations, the attorney-at-law for an accused person "shall inform the accused of any offer made by the prosecution to enter into plea discussions and keep the accused fully informed of any plea discussions". Additionally, the attorney for the accused shall also "fully explain to the accused the contents of any plea agreement reached with the prosecution and the advantages, disadvantages and potential consequences of the agreement".
From this literature review, the study indicates that the examination of the judicial system plays an important role in the reduction of overdue court cases in Jamaica. A backlog of court cases can lead to many problems in society not just only to Jamaica but other countries. Over the years the backlog of court cases has been a huge problem, where steps were used to try and resolve the problem. On my opinion I think they should put in place plea bargaining where offenders plead guilty to a lesser offence in return for the apphrension of other criminals. I also think that the government should implement a system where training prosecutors that will allow them to work more efficiently and effectively.

Section 3
Methodology
The methodology that will be applied by the study has been chosen in order to acquire information and about the backlog of court cases. Data will also be collected via various medium, types of data collection includes primary data which will be collected in two ways firstly; a questionnaire will be conducted with how the Jamaican citizens view the justice system. Secondly, face-to-face interviews were carried out to different category of people such as; law enforcement officers, attorneys and judges and members of the local authority. Finally, panel discussions were conducted to hear the views of more Jamaican citizens.
Ideally one wants to study is the entire population. However, usually it is impossible or unfeasible to do this and therefore one must settle for a sample. According to Black and Champion (1976), sample is a portion of elements taken from a population, which is considered to be representative of the population.
Questionnaires are an inexpensive way to gather data from a potentially large number of respondents it will be more feasible to reach a number of reviews large enough for the statistical analysis. These will be well designed as to capture the relevant data required. This will be so, because we want to protect the privacy of the participants, and a questionnaire will provide this.
Face to face interviews is also an effective method of getting an accurate feedback. We can see firsthand the attitude of the respondents. Doing face to face interviews will be timely and costly however, the cost may be minimal as these face to face interviews will conducted on a wide scale for visitors and service providers to try and cut this cost. Example is having a community meeting to inform citizens and the business sector of what we are trying to accomplish this will encompass more persons and we can choose at random who we want in our sample. This data is easily compared.
A panel discussion is a public exchange of ideas with a goal of informing audience members about a particular subject or issue. In most cases, 3 or more panelists share their knowledge and expertise after being asked questions in a format that allows some discussion. Panel discussions are used to delve into politics, science and community topics, as well as many other issues.

QUESTIONAIRE
“An examination of the Jamaican judicial system and the measures that may lead to a reduction in the high number of outstanding court cases.”
Please indicate by ticking the correct response. 1. Please indicate your gender [ ] male female [ ] 2. Which age category do you fall in? [ ] 18-25 [ ] 26-30 [ ] 27-35 [ ] 36-50 [ ] over 50 3. How do you view the Jamaican judicial system?
[ ] Operating efficiently [ ] needs minor improvement [ ] needs major improvement 4. How would rate your knowledge of the Jamaican judicial system? (Using the rating 1-5, 5 being most knowledgeable and 1 being the least knowledgeable) [ ] 1 [ ] 2 [ ] 3 [ ] 4 [ ] 5

5. Is the Jamaican Legal System on par to that of the legal system in the United States?
[ ] yes [ ] no 6. Give reason for your answer ________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
7. Do you think the punishments given to offenders are fair and justified?
[ ] yes [ ] no 8. Do you think bail should be granted to all offenders?
[ ] yes [ ] no 9. How would you rate the turnaround time for cases to be heard in court? (using the rating 1-5, 5 being most knowledgeable and 1 being the least knowledgeable)
[ ] 1 [ ] 2 [ ] 3 [ ] 4 [ ] 5 10. Do you think there are enough trained personnel to take care of case backlogs?
[ ] yes [ ] no 11. Do you think the contents of the Justice System Reform Policy Agenda Framework should be revised? [ ] yes [ ] no 12. Do you think the government should implement new measures in dealing with the reduction of overdue court cases? [ ] yes [ ] no 13. Give three (3) suggestions to improve the justice system? a) __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ b) __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ c) __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Section 4-Intended Results and Discussions
Data Analysis
Data analysis involves scanning the data and taking out unwanted information, then editing and coding. In any data analysis consistency and validity is critical, we as the researcher has to ensure that the information gathered is relevant and can be used to make informed decision. While the information is important data analysis will not be the only thing used to make decisions, other factors like practicality and trends as well as demand will form major parts of how we will formulate our decisions.
During the editing process it will give the researcher the opportunity to make any correction to problems that may have aroused during the process. These errors could be omission and legibility errors and interviewer errors. Then the next step would be to tabulate the dated and analysis it to find similar response from the respondents’ answers. The format that would be used is to code the data to protect the privacy of the respondents. This would be achieved by using Microsoft excel software. The findings of the research would be based on how many questionnaires were given and the amount of respondents who have answered these questions. The possible outcome from this data analysis would be that there will be a calculation of overall outcomes for all clients and compare the latest overall outcomes with outcomes from previous time periods and compare the latest overall outcomes with pre-established targets.

Section 5
References
Saunders, A. (2012 April 11). Progress being made to clear Backlog of Cases. Jamaica Information System (JIS). Retrieved from http://www.jis.gov.jm/news/byministry/.
Flemming B. (2012 October 24). US to the rescue. The Gleaner. Retrieved from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/
Brown, I. (2012 April 18). Plea bargaining can help with case backlog. The Jamaican Observer. Retrieved from http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/
Seyler, D.U. (2005). Read Reason Write an argument text and reader (7th Ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw Hill.
Lucas, S.E. (2004). The art of public speaking (8th Ed). New York, MA: McGraw Hill.
Introduction to the Legal System. (2008). Retrieved from http://www.oas.org/juridico/mla/en/jam/index.html
Court Performance Management System. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.nccourts.org/citizens/srplanning/performance/default.asp

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Essay on Referencing

...following winning essay was submitted in 2009 by a UK higher education student for an essay writing competition sponsored by the LearnHigher Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) network. The set title was ‘What is the point of referencing?’, and there was a maximum word limit of 1,500 words. There is a tutor commentary on the points made by the student to the left of the essay. The introduction to an essay is very important. Here the student immediately addresses the question. | What is the point of referencing?The reasons why accurate referencing is essential for academic work are not immediately apparent, particularly for students new to higher education. This essay will, therefore, examine why referencing is an essential part of academic writing and in the process address the question: ‘what is the point of referencing?’ | The student introduces the main reasons for referencing. | There are three main reasons for referencing. Firstly, referencing helps student writers to construct, structure, support and communicate arguments. Secondly, references link the writer’s work to the existing body of knowledge. Thirdly, only through referencing can academic work gain credibility. | Summarises the structure of the essay. | This essay will discuss these three aspects of referencing in detail, examine their validity, identify how referencing affects a writer’s writing style, and show how referencing helps students to present their own ideas and opinions in......

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Documenting Source

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