St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Attorney General Vincent Byron acknowledging that there is more work to be done, following Monday’s official opening of a second High Court Chamber.
Bar Association representative Keisha Pence while praising the introduction of a second court chamber, indicated that there were other steps to be taken in the modernization of the court system and dispensation of justice in the federation.
“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.”
Speaking to WINN FM about that expressed shopping list from the Bar Association, Attorney General Byron said those matters too are being addressed.
“One of the reasons why we had moved aggressively to have this chamber done, had to do with criminal matters. In our manifesto, we spoke about a dedicated criminal court, we’re not anywhere that as yet but what this does is allow us to have civil and criminal more expeditiously brought forward. Normally during assizes, the resident high court judge sits from Mondays to Thursdays then on Fridays he may have as many as 26- 30 chamber matters, it’s a great strain, and there is some delay on that even with the best will, so having two judges to share that burden is one way that we have quicker dispensing of matters.”
Other facilities will also be put in place, the Attorney General has confirmed.
“We are also going to be looking at the question of the family division in which matters dealing with maintenance, divorce and for now juvenile matters will also be held within that same structure and we have already begun to renovate the old electoral office that is within the compound and we intend to add another magistrates court chamber there that allows for matters to be held in that and we will also be having in that new structure we are designing questions on mediation, not just for family and juvenile matters, but mediation per se, that we see it and have enough room we expect, to have the mediation that is so important in terms of the dispensing of justice where people can meet before going to full trial and try and resolve the matters between themselves.”
The matter of a separate land registry is already receiving attention, Attorney General Byron assures, pointing to the Bill to facilitate this having already had its first reading in Parliament.
He says the government expects to pass into law the land registry bill at the next sitting of the House of Assembly.
“We also have to have some minor amendments of supporting legislation, conveyancing law, and the title by registration act and so that then will mean that the land registry would allow us to move forward and appoint a registrar of titles, registrar for lands. That will help significantly we believe in allowing the high court registry and registrar to be able to focus more on that and will be able to increase the timeliness in which matters in which matters dealing with property can be dealt with. It helps the business community tremendously it helps questions of taxation and a whole range of matters that people have been having some challenges with at this point in time.”