Georgetown, GINA, July 14, 2016
The International Hague Network of Judges is crucial to effective practical communications as it allows it members to have direct communication with their counterpart the world over.
This was told to legal practitioners from the region who are gathered for the Hague Convention Conference on International Family Law, Legal Co-operation and Commerce at the Pegasus hotel, Georgetown.
The Right Honourable Sir Matthew Thorpe, former Lord Justice of Appeal and Head of International Family Justice 2005-2013 said that the Convention that speaks to the Network of Judges includes commonly accepted safeguards, and details guidance needed by each Network Judge for them to be effective in their roles.
“Any judge of the network has at least a clear guide as to what is good practice in the field of judicial communication,” Sir Thorpe explained.
He asserted that nominated judges to the network have an important responsibility, not to remain within their own domains, but rather they must meet to exchange ideas and get to know each other as colleagues.
“To that end, we have had a residential conference for the network judges in UK in 2013 and last year in Hong Kong… these are hugely valuable opportunities for judges to get together and exchange their experiences,” Sir Thorpe explained.
The wisdom behind having a network of judges is to foster practical communication between and amongst them. Therefore, when one judge is seized of a matter in their jurisdiction involving a cross-border issue, they can contact their counterpart in the other jurisdiction. This level of practical communications, Sir Thorpe touts, saves time, money, and removes the barriers to justice being served and results in the ordinary citizen getting justice.
“The most important aspect is the external communication so that the network judge has to be ready to receive requests for information and assistance from their counterparts anywhere in the world and provide wholehearted response- irrespective of a time or language problem,” Sir Thorpe said.
Sir Thorpe further added that the other important responsibility of network judges is to communicate with their colleagues within their respective jurisdictions, keeping them informed of the developments of case law and the developments of issues.
“You need to report, make newsletter available to specialists judges in the region … you have to make effort to attend conferences which are specialist and specifically designed to draw in the expertise and experience you are accumulating,” Sir Thorpe said.
Madame Justice Allyson Ramkerrysingh, Family Court of Trinidad and Tobago, Port of Spain and Hague Network Judge, recounting her experience utilising the network, said that is the kind of communication the network seeks to have.
Madame Justice Ramkerrysingh also pointed out that based on Trinidad and Tobago’s experience; a number of initiatives will soon be put in place to give the Central Authority more scope to fully implement the Conventions that were assented to.
Some of the measures include a directory of legal practitioners who can assist both foreign and local left behind parent in initiating proceedings; a comprehensive list of probation officers, welfare officers and social service providers who can facilitate expeditious reports to courts, both locally and in other contracting territories; a list of dependable safe houses and residents that offer shelter and protection in cases of emergency to both foreign and local interested parties, and a list of ready information for police and other relevant law enforcement agencies who can provide swift assistance in troublesome matters.