Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 25, 2019 (SKNIS): Persons paying court fees now have additional ways to do so, with the passage of the Courts of Justice Fees Bill 2019, which was successfully passed through the Honourable House on Friday, September 20.
Mover of the Bill, the Honourable Attorney General and Minister responsible for Justice, Legal Affairs and Communications, Senator Vincent Byron, said the Bill offers more payment options as opposed to the only one that had been in existence for years.
“It is a simple Bill that we seek to do because in essence when one has to pay court fees to file matters at the court, one normally does so by the provision of stamps. And what this Bill seeks to do is to allow the payment of fees into the court by electronic means – by the use of credit cards, debit cards, cash, cheques – rather than by stamps alone,” he said. “The Bill will also seek to expand the basis on which these are currently paid.”
He described the Bill as simple, but important.
“It is an important Bill, a very relatively short Bill but an important one that allows for fees to be paid into the court for the initiation of matters at the High Court level in civil matters, as well as the Court of Appeal,” said Senator Byron. “Mr. Speaker, the Bill in effect seeks to repeal and replace the current law which is the Courts of Justice Fees Act Cap. 3.10, and it should be noted that this Act was first passed into law as No. 6 of 1880…”
Attorney General Byron said that the provisions under the Bill are in keeping with the standards and practices of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC).
“Consequently Mr. Speaker, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in an effort to improve the efficiency, and to take advantage of the widely available modern technologies has now moved to introduce a new system of electronic filing of court documents. It is anticipated that this very important update would facilitate a more convenient way for users to interact with the courts without having to necessarily physically appear in person at the office of the court registry,” he said. “Users would now have much greater latitude and would be able to file court documents from home virtually anywhere and at any time. And in that connection, the court is now well equipped or well poised to give life to the system.”
Minister Byron added that a team of experts from ESCS is currently in the Federation conducting training and other preparatory activities for electronic filing.
The Courts of Justice Fees Bill 2019 had its first reading on Tuesday, September 03, 2019.