By Loshaun Dixon
Basseterre, St. Kitts-A modern-day second high court in St. Kitts and Nevis opened on Monday morning in Basseterre at the Sir Llewellyn Lee Moore Legal and Judicial Complex and is expected to help deliver swift justice in the Federation.
A special sitting of the High Court convened to mark the opening of the new facility and speaking at that sitting Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Dame Janice Pereira reminded of the address she gave at the opening of the new law year when she highlighted the many constraints which impact either positively or unfavourably on access to justice.
“I made the point that access to justice also requires the provision of adequate facilities and personnel which will enhance the ability to more quickly undertake the hearing of criminal matters as well as civil matters,” she said.
With the new second high court, she said, the people of St. Kitts will be afforded the opportunity to have year round criminal and civil sessions as both high courts will be operating on the same legal calendar
“An additional judicial officer will shortly be assigned to conduct trials and other hearings in this new facility. Additionally I am assured that all necessary staffing and court equipment are virtually in place, thus for all intents and purposes this new additional court facility is ready for business complete with all equipment for the use of modern technology including hearings by video and teleconference. In every respect it is intended to be a model modern court,” she declared.
She commended Attorney General Vincent Byron for delivery on the facility.
“He has worked tirelessly seemingly himself attending to every minute detail and for keeping fully abreast of the progress of works,” she said.
Resident Judge Justice Trevor Ward hailed the facility as being built to modern standards and boast all the amenities that will “facilitate efficient and comfortable transaction of business for all court users.”
“The judiciary gives its commitment to match the quality of justice dispensed with the physical standard of the physical facility,” he said.
AG Byron stated at the opening that more individuals will have their matters now heard in a more timely manner.
“We can have people have greater access to justice where their matters can be dealt with in a more prompt manner. And once you have the justice system functioning properly and in a way that is fair, that is effective and efficient and people can have confidence in that, then it assists us in terms of the economy and it assists us in terms of peace and good order in the country,” he said.
He added there is an ever increasing use of the court system for a resolution of disputes and the new court offers a way to serve the increasing use to have matters dispensed.
“We believe in a fair and efficient and we believe a more prompt manner now with the coming into being our new court. A new court has been prepared to assist both judges and lawyers to further this objective of access as well as efficiency.” he said.
He noted that the new facility will afford the chance for criminal matters being disposed of with less delay and an ease the workload of the single judge.
“We also welcome the new courtroom because we see it as another step in the modernization of the court system and dispensation of justice in the federation. With the opening of the courtroom we look forward to the welcoming of a second judge in short order, we also look towards the strengthening of the requisite support staff that will truly reduce the current delays in the disposing of matters,” he said.
“Looking to the future we hope that the opening of the land registry will be made a separate registry from the high court registry. We hope that one day, sooner rather than later, we will open a family court, a juvenile court and a commercial court, where litigants can access justice in a timely and more comfortable manner.”
The new High Court facility sits adjacent to the previous chambers and though is smaller will boast modern facilities used in the judicial system.