Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 22, 2020 (SKNIS): Services at the Sir Lee Llewellyn Moore Judicial and Legal Complex in St. Kitts is now strengthened following the completion of an Annex that houses a third magistrate’s court chamber and a mediation centre dedicated to criminal and family matters.
Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, the Honourable Vincent Byron Jr. made the announcement on the final day of the Budget Debate on Monday, December 21, 2020.
“The building houses three key functions for the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs. It has on the ground floor a third Magistrate’s Court Chamber for District A… that is ideal for in-camera hearing. They will look for maintenance court and it will also be able to be a traffic court,” said Attorney-General Byron. “It is going to enhance the work of the magistracy, a summary court, and will continue to have better scheduling to allow us – as we have this COVID period – to put on more cases.”
Minister Byron said that the annex will greatly enhance the administration of justice.
“What it also does Mr. Speaker, is allow the magistrates to better schedule matters so that, for the first time in St. Kitts and Nevis, we have the situation where we will now have a night court. We will have three days a week, coming early next year, matters scheduled in the evenings,” said the attorney-general, adding that night court will facilitate persons who normally have to miss a day’s work. “It is something exciting for us in the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs and would help us to continue to reduce the backlog of cases, the time you have to wait to get before the court. It helps us with access to justice. You want your day in court, you get it quicker.”
Also in that building is a mediation centre dedicated to promoting peaceful resolutions.
“In civil matters, the High Court from time to time would assign parties to go to court-connected mediation. No judge, no legal bearing, but you can sit and talk to settle your matter without having the court getting involved,” said Minister Byron. “And, of course, if you could do that then you could save money. Matters that could take a year or two could be settled in a half hour. You might not get everything you want but it is a means of alternative dispute resolution. So the time is shortened, the costs are done, and it allows you to maintain good community relations.”
In 2019, 25 persons received certificates after being trained as Court-Connected Mediators. Minister Byron said more will be trained over the next few weeks.
The Annex also houses a Law Library that would be available to all stakeholders, including practitioners, litigants in person, students, and the general public. The library will be equipped with the latest search engines, as well as books and periodicals. -30-