Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 28th 2014 Contents B38
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, February 28, 2014
In accordance with Sections 7, 8 and 9 of the Freedom of Information Act, Chapter 22:02 ('FOIA')
of the Laws of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago is
required to publish the following statements which list the documents and information generally
available to the public.
The Act gives members of the public:
1) A legal right for each person to access information held by the Judiciary.
2) A legal right for each person to have official information relating to him/her amended
where it is incomplete, incorrect or misleading.
3) A legal right to obtain reasons for adverse decisions made regarding an applicant's request
for information under the FOIA.
4) A legal right to complain to the Ombudsman and to apply to the High Court for Judicial
Review to challenge adverse decisions made under the FOIA.
SECTION 7 STATEMENTS
Section 7 (1) (a) (i)
Function and Structure of the Judiciary
The Judiciary works towards the resolution of conflict in the society by resolving disputes that arise out
of the operation of laws and involve the application of remedies and the punishment of offenders.
The Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago aims to provide an accountable court system in which
timeliness and efficiency are hallmarks, while still protecting integrity, equality and accessibility
and attracting public trust and confidence.
The Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago, headed by the Chief Justice, comprises the Supreme Court
of Judicature and the Magistracy. The Judiciary is the third arm of the State. As in most democratic
countries, the Judiciary is established by the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
It operates independently from the Executive as a forum for the resolution of disputes between
individuals and bodies including the State. The Supreme Court of Judicature is made up of the
Court of Appeal and the High Court.
The Magistracy comprises the Courts of Summary Criminal Jurisdiction and the Petty Civil Courts.
These Courts are established under the Summary Courts Act, Chapter 4:20 and the Petty Civil
Courts Act, Chapter. 4:21 of the Laws of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Magistracy is headed by the Chief Magistrate and exercises original jurisdiction in relation to
summary criminal matters. The Magistrates' Court also facilitates Preliminary Enquiries into serious
criminal matters to determine whether in any given case adequate evidence has been established
against an accused person before he/she can be indicted or committed for trial at the High Court
Criminal Division of the Supreme Court. The Petty Civil Court deals with civil matters involving
money claims which are less than Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000.00).
There are twelve (12) Magisterial Districts in Trinidad and Tobago comprising of the following court
locations, St. George West Magistrates' Court (covering Port of Spain and its environs), Tunapuna
Magistrates' Court, Chaguanas Magistrates' Court, Couva Magistrates' Court, San Fernando
Magistrates' Court, Point Fortin Magistrates' Court, Arima Magistrates' Court, Sangre Grande
Magistrates' Court, Princes Town Magistrates' Court, Rio Claro Magistrates' Court, Mayaro
Magistrates' Court, Siparia Magistrates' Court, Moruga Out Court, Toco Out Court, Scarborough
Magistrates' Court, Charlotteville Out Court and the Roxborough Out Court.
The High Court
The High Court exercises the power to entertain proceedings in indictable criminal matters, family
matters, and in civil matters (inclusive of applications made during the course of proceedings and
informal motions in Chamber Courts). The Civil Proceedings Rules (CPR), 1998 were introduced
from September 16, 2005 with the objective of ensuring the timely resolution of disputes and the
delivery of justice which is equally accessible to all citizens. Some benefits of these Rules are the
simplification, efficiency and timely expedition of the procedures by which civil litigation is brought
and handled before the High Court, especially the focus on the case management system which
encourages mediation and settlement.
The Court of Appeal
The Court of Appeal has appellate jurisdiction over both the Magistracy and the High Court, inclusive
of the Magisterial and High Court Sections of the Family Court. At present, an appeal from the Court of
Appeal in Trinidad and Tobago lies to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council either as of right, or
with the leave of that Court.
Department of Court Administration
The Judiciary seeks to discharge its functions against hallmarks of independence, integrity and access
to justice and fairness. These core values have assisted in shaping the Judiciary's mission and vision,
and have also guided the institution along a path of transformation and modernization. A major
output of the reform initiative has been the creation of a Department of Court Administration (DCA),
headed by a Court Executive Administrator. The DCA operates as an extension of the Judge's mandate
for managing the Courts and their cases under the direction and supervision of the Chief Justice.
The DCA has a range of specialized Units, and its role involves the study, review, implementation
and management of the systems, procedures and processes utilized to manage cases brought
before the Courts. It also ensures that the case flow management techniques are adequately
supported for minimum delay between the filing and disposition of a case, while ensuring due
process is afforded equally to all who appear before the courts.
Effect of Functions on Members of the Public
The role of the Judiciary is to resolve disputes in society. The duty of the Judiciary is to do so fairly
and in a timely and efficient manner so as to gain and maintain the public's trust and confidence.
Some of the effects of the Judiciary's functions are:
access to justice;
ensuring equal and fair justice;
enhanced public safety under the rule of law;
the impartial administration of law between individual citizens as well as between citizens and
the maintenance of avenues to address and resolve disputes within society without the reliance
on harsh or arbitrary techniques;
ensuring that government agencies act within the law; and
interpreting the law and upholding the Constitution.
Section 7 (1) (a) (ii)
Categories of Documents in the Possession of the Judiciary
List as appropriate:
Administrative files used in the daily operations of the Judiciary;
Documentation on matters before the Supreme Court;
Documentation related to the accounting and financial management function of the Judiciary;
Documentation relating to the procurement of supplies, services and equipment;
Personnel records containing information on job specifications, job applications, staff appointments,
promotions, transfers, applications for vacation leave, resignations, retirements and deaths;
Legal Opinions and related matters;
Minutes and Agendas of meetings;
Procedural Guidelines and Manuals;
Records of Human Resource Development and Training;
Records of Committees and Associations;
Contract documents and incidental material;
Statistical Reports of Court matters;
News releases and speeches originating within the Judiciary;
Circulars, Memoranda, Notices and Bulletins;
Legislation and Legal Instruments; and
Section 7 (1) (a) (iii)
Material Prepared for Publication or Inspection
The public may inspect and/or obtain copies of the following materials:
1) Unreported Decisions of the Trinidad and Tobago Supreme Court available at:
Office Copies Section
Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago
Hall of Justice, Port of Spain
Phone: (868) 223-1060, ext 2424
Fax: (868) 627-8627
2) The Judiciary Annual Reports available at:
Court Protocol and Information Unit
Hall of Justice, Port of Spain
Phone: (868) 223-1060, 2415
Fax: (868) 624-2094
These materials are available between the hours of 8:00 am - 4:00 pm on normal working days.
Section 7 (1) (a) (iv)
Literature Available by Subscription
Members of the public may subscribe for the following material:
A monthly subject listing of judgments which is available on subscription, either through
e-mail or hard copy.
Contact or write to: Court Library Services Unit
Hall of Justice, Knox Street, Port-of-Spain
Trinidad and Tobago
Phone: (868) 223-1060, ext 2366
Fax: (868 627-8489
Section 7 (1) (a) (v)
Procedure to be followed when accessing a document from the Judiciary
How to Request Information:
The policy of the Judiciary is to respond to all oral and written requests for information. However,
in order to derive the rights given to the applicant under the Act, (for example, the right to chal-
lenge a decision if the request for information is refused), the applicant must make such request
for information in writing. The applicant must, therefore, complete the Request for Access to
Official Document(s) Form that is available from the Designated Officer of the Judiciary.
To ensure prompt handling of requests, please address it to the Designated Officer of the Judiciary.
Requests will be acknowledged as official when made on the prescribed form.
PUBLIC STATEMENT OF THE JUDICIARY OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA), CHAPTER 22:02
In Compliance with sections 7, 8 and 9 of the Freedom of Information Act ('FOIA'),
Links Archive February 27th 2014 March 1st 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page