Law unit 1 roles of legal personnel


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Law unit 1 roles of legal personnel

  1. 1.  Attorney General of Jamaica is the chief law officer in Jamaica. Section 79(1) of the Constitution of Jamaica states that "there shall be an Attorney General who shall be the principal legal adviser to the Government of Jamaica" and pursuant to the Crown Proceedings Act all civil proceedings by or against the Government are instituted in the name of the Attorney General.
  2. 2.  In most common law jurisdictions, the attorney general or attorney-general is the main legal advisor to the government, and in some jurisdictions he or she may also have executive responsibility for law enforcement or responsibility for public prosecutions. The term is used to refer to any person who holds a general power of attorney to represent a principal in all matters. In the common law tradition, anyone who represents the state, especially in criminal prosecutions, is such an attorney. Although a government may designate some official as the permanent attorney general, anyone who comes to represent the state in the same way is referred to as such, even if only for a particular case.
  3. 3.  Judges play many roles. They interpret the law, assess the evidence presented, and control how hearings and trials unfold in their courtrooms. Most important of all, judges are impartial decision-makers in the pursuit of justice. We have what is known as an adversarial system of justice - legal cases are contests between opposing sides, which ensures that evidence and legal arguments will be fully and forcefully presented. The judge, however, remains above the fray, providing an independent and impartial assessment of the facts and how the law applies to those facts.
  4. 4.  Many criminal cases - and almost all civil ones - are heard by a judge sitting without a jury. The judge is the "trier of fact," deciding whether the evidence is credible and which witnesses are telling the truth. Then the judge applies the law to these facts to determine whether a civil claim has been established on a balance of probabilities or whether there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt, in criminal cases, that the suspect is guilty. Anyone who faces five years or more in prison if convicted of a crime has the right, under the Charter, to request a jury trial, and many defendants facing serious offences such as murder opt to have a jury hear their case. The jurors become the triers of fact and assess the evidence while the judge takes on the role of legal advisor, explaining the law to the jurors. The jurors then retire to deliberate on a verdict. In criminal cases the jurys verdict, either "Guilty" or "Not Guilty" must be unanimous.
  5. 5.  If the defendant is convicted of a crime, the judge passes sentence, imposing a penalty that can range from a fine to a prison term depending on the severity of the offence. In civil cases the judge decides whether a claim is valid and assesses damages, grants an injunction or orders some other form of redress to the plaintiff, unless a jury has been empanelled to make these decisions.
  6. 6.  The Registrar is the civil service administrative head of department for the purposes of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission Regulations as well as the Public Service Commission Regulations and the accounting officer for the purposes of the Financial Administration and Audit Act. The Registrar also has judicial functions. Any correspondence intended to reach the Justices of Appeal or an individual Justice of Appeal is required to be addressed to the Registrar and all official correspondence emanating from the court should be signed on behalf of the Registrar of the Court.
  7. 7.  The Registrar is responsible for ensuring that the mail is dealt with in accordance with the provisions of General Orders. The Registrar is responsible for the recruitment, promotion and discipline of support staff members.
  8. 8.  By section 6 of the Court of Appeal Act (Ch. 52), it is the duty of the Registrar " to take all necessary steps for obtaining a hearing [under the Act] of all appeals and applications made to the court and to obtain and lay before the court in proper form all documents, exhibits and other things relating to the proceedings in respect of which the appeal or application has been brought and which appear necessary for the determination thereof by the court." In civil appeals, the Registrar is also required to summon the parties to appear before the Registrar to settle the record for an appeal under rule 13 of the Court of Appeal Rules. The Registrar also has a discretion, in civil cases, to refuse to file or receive any documents which do not strictly comply with rule 15 of the Court of Appeal Rules.
  9. 9.  fact to a Justice of Appeal who will then order that the appeal be dismissed with or without costs. In criminal appeals to the Court against conviction or sentence, a person desiring to appeal shall commence his appeal by submitting to the Registrar a Notice of Appeal or a Notice of Application for leave to appeal or Notice of Application for extension of time within which such notice shall be given. In all cases, it is the duty of the Registrar to notify the Registrar of the court below of the final determination of this court as well as any orders or directions made or given by this court in relation to any appeal or any matter connected with such an appeal. In addition, once an appeal has been finally determined by this court, it is the duty of the Registrar to return to the proper officer of the court below any original depositions, exhibits, information, plea or other documents usually kept by such officer, or forming part of the record of the court below
  10. 10.  If an appellant does not comply with the requirements of rule 13(3), (in civil cases) it is the duty of the Registrar to certify that With regard to magisterial appeals, where an appeal relates to a case which has been tried by the Chief Magistrate or a stipendiary and circuit magistrate or a circuit justice on circuit, the Registrar is to receive "without delay" from the magistrates court a copy of the conviction order or judgment and all papers relating to the appeal - see section 237 of the Criminal Procedure Code Act (Ch 91 of the 2002 Edition of the Statute Laws of The Bahamas - "the CPC")). Under section 243 of the CPC it is the statutory duty of the Registrar to set each magisterial appeal down for hearing and to cause notice of such fixture to be published in such manner as the court may direct. It is the duty of the Registrar to ensure that the records of the Court are kept in proper order. As far as the budget permits, it is the duty of the Registrar to ensure that all necessary material - including reference and other books and research tools - are available for the Justices of Appeal. By rule 35(3) of the Court of Appeal Rules the Registrar shall be the taxing officer where the costs of an appeal is allowed and the Court orders the costs to be taxed.
  11. 11.  The prosecutor is the chief legal representative of the prosecution in countries with either the common law adversarial system, or the civil law inquisitorial system. The prosecution is the legal party responsible for presenting the case in a criminal trial against an individual accused of breaking the law.
  12. 12.  An actual officer of the court. He provides the courtroom security and safety. Maintains a watchful eye and assists in carrying out the judges orders. He controls the people coming in and out of the courtroom. If a piece of evidence is needed or a witness needs to be brought in, it is the bailiffs job to do so. He also administers the oath to witness and says “all rise”.
  13. 13.  A court officer serving processes, attending court, giving personal service to the judge etc.
  14. 14.  Attends the session of the court to preserve order and decorum therein, which includes, but is not limited to protecting the judges, court clerk and general public. The Marshal’s office is authorized to execute all writs, process(i.e. warrants, summons, subpoenas, etc) and orders of the superior court and to conduct auctions, and to perform such other duties incident to the office of the Marshal which includes, but is not limited to serving as peace officer in the territory