Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 31, 2023 (SKNIS): The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) launched its E-litigation Portal for Magistrates’ Court in St. Kitts and Nevis on Thursday, March 30, 2023, to improve operational efficiency in Courts in the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) region.
The ECSC officially launched the first phase of its E-Litigation Portal in St. Kitts and Nevis in 2019, for the mandatory electronic filing of all new matters filed in the Court of Appeal and the Civil Division of the High Court. Thursday’s launch ushered in the second phase of the platform which dealt with the delivery of electronic services in the Magistrates’ Courts.
Minister of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), the Honourable Konris Maynard, hailed the move which is in lockstep with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis’ vision.
“This shift to digitization of our Court infrastructure also fits with this government’s push towards a sustainable island state for three reasons,” said Minister Maynard. “Embracing IT [Information Technology] in all elements of our lives will allow us to adapt to this ever-changing modernized world; reducing the use of paper helps us to create a cleaner environment as we move towards our climate goals, and enhancing access to justice and promoting the rule of law are prerequisites for any community of people to become truly independent and sustainable as a democratic nation.”
Minister Maynard said that extending e-litigation to the Magistrates’ Court was well-needed.
“As the implementation of this e-litigation portal in the High Court and Court of Appeal has brought about great news and was well-received by the judiciary, it is no surprise that it is now being exported to the Magistrates’ Court for Civil matters here in St. Kitts and Nevis including family, domestic violence and salvage matters,” said the ICT Minister. “This expansion was well-needed as it is the Magistrates’ Court that deals with the bulk of cases more than any other tier of the court’s hierarchy.”
The ICT Minister said that it is imperative to upgrade the digital offerings at the Magistrates’ Court.
“As the Magistrates’ Court is usually the first Court that litigants appear in, it is in dire need of digital transformation to ensure that matters are dealt with efficiently and effectively. Also, noteworthy, is the resultant reduction of paper usage which supports our government’s push to become an eco-friendly sustainable island nation,” he said. “The introduction and further expansion of the e-litigation portal will also bolster the rule of law in St. Kitts and Nevis by providing the general public with easier and more seamless access to our Court systems.”
E-Litigation streamlines the components of judicial processes covering areas such as electronic court filings, electronic case management, billing collection, and court scheduling. Users of the secure web-based service can access the e-Litigation Portal anywhere and at any time using a smart device.