January 16, 2016
Supreme Court judge, Justice Vivene Harris, is currently in the United States (US) as part of the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
The project, Children in the Justice System, which runs from January 11-29, will explore the juvenile justice system throughout the US, particularly examining the rights and welfare of children.
Harris and the participants from more than a dozen other countries will study the legal and regulatory system which governs family law and custody issues in the US, including international treaties such as The Hague Abduction Convention. They will also meet with their legal colleagues to compare best practices in advocacy and share constructive approaches to addressing and rehabilitating juvenile offenders.
Harris has served the Jamaican judiciary, adjudicating cases in the criminal, civil and family division of the island’s court system. She has served in other positions of prominence to include the acting master of the Supreme Court and senior resident magistrate – Resident Magistrate’s Court, St James.
Joshua Polacheck, counsellor for Public Affairs at the US Embassy, said the programme was one of several being done in partnership with Jamaican authorities to strengthen the island’s rule of law and enhance responsible and democratic governance.
Polacheck said he believes Harris’ participation will contribute to the Supreme Court’s underlying goal of building a strong and independent judiciary that is loyal only to the law.
He also said Harris would bring her exceptional expertise and insights to the 20 additional participants, including legal experts from the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Armenia, Poland, Greece and the United Kingdom.
The International Visitor Leadership Program is a professional exchange programme, with Jamaican alumni including Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Holness, Portland Environmental Project Association CEO Machel Donegan, and communications specialist/actress Fae Ellington.
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