Court System Of Trinidad And Tobago Law Essay

The tribunal system has three degrees. There is the Magistrates ‘ Court, which is the first degree ; the Supreme Court of Judicature, which consists of the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal, the 2nd degree ; and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the 3rd degree and our concluding tribunal of entreaty. In add-on, there are specialised tribunals which are designed to manage particular affairs. These tribunals have limited legal power refering merely those peculiar types of instances. These include the Family Court, The Industrial Court and the Tax Appeal Board. Persons who are experts in the related Fieldss enhance the particular map of these tribunals.

Alternative Dispute Resolution ( ADR ) is a term used to mention to challenge declaration procedures in which parties are assisted by a 3rd party, who helps them to decide their difference in a manner that is less formal and frequently more consensual than is done in the tribunals. ADR has many noteworthy benefits such as engagement by the controversialists, the non-adversarial nature of declaration and cost effectivity.

There is a lifting tide for the usage of the ADR methods of struggle declaration. These have been as a consequence of the exponential addition in the figure of instances handled by the tribunals ensuing in a backlog. The increasing costs and diminishing satisfaction with judicial proceeding, costs may affect money, clip and loss of chance. There is a motion in society today to a more natural and humanist method of difference declaration and the authorization of controversialists to take part in deciding their ain jobs. The necessity to go more flexible in deciding differences. The importance of keeping confidentiality by avoiding promotion.

The success of ADR is dependent on the practician ‘s acquaintance with the full spectrum of ADR options so that they can accurately rede controversialists and stakeholders on the design of appropriate struggle direction systems. Despite its obvious benefits ADR may non be the reply to all struggle declarations. Some differences may merely be inappropriate for ADR. The undermentioned illustrations are intended to exemplify this proposition:

instances affecting domestic force ;

instances that raise constitutional issues ;

public policy issues ;

repeated misdemeanors ;

instances where persons do non understand their rights and picks.


Throughout the universe mediation has emerged as one of the most popular signifiers of alternate difference declaration ( ADR ) . It is a procedure in which a 3rd party, who is impartial has no interest in the result, and has no power to enforce a determination – ushers controversialists through a non-adversarial treatment procedure that has as its end the subsiding of differences. Goldberg, Sander, and Rogers ( 1992 ) point out that “ mediation is normally a byproduct of failure – the inability of controversialists to work out their ain differences[ 1 ]. The mediation procedure is both cost effectual and minimizes the sum of clip spent when seeking to decide a difference. With the coming of the CPR and the aim of the tribunal to decide affairs in a timely mode, paves the manner for the promotion of mediation in the Judicial System under this new system.

Some of the dogmas upon which mediation flexible joints are that ( 1 ) Mediation conserves household relationships. ( 2 ) The procedure and results are owned by the two parties. ( 3 ) It is cost effectual and ( 4 ) The mediation scene is private. Pre-mediation involves a treatment of the issues in difference. Prior to get downing the mediation procedure, the twosome have the chance to run into with the go-between. Unlike other signifiers of ADR, the mediation environment is of utmost importance, every bit good as puting a tone that is non-adversarial. The privateness that mediation affords most times can non be entertained in judicial proceeding, for case. The tribunal room is a public forum and is null of any private agencies for the treatment of subjects of a personal and sensitive nature.

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Overall, the purposes and aims of mediation – the environment, the mode in which treatment is encouraged, the clip salvaging and cost economy characteristics, high degrees of confidentiality and the privilege of the parties holding a just portion in the determination devising procedure, may doubtless guarantee that controversialists can come to a satisfactory understanding.

The Family Court

The constitution of the Family Court in 2004 brought with it advanced ways in covering with households in struggle. Initially, there was no tribunal with specific authorization over household affairs. This frequently proved helter-skelter and hence resulted in remedial efforts to turn to this job. One of the chief aims of the Family Court is the focal point on deciding household differences in a manner that improves and non destruct the quality of life between household members, therefore forestalling the dislocation of the household unit. Familial affairs undertaken by the Family Court include issues environing acceptance or detention of kids, disregard or maltreatment of kids, and domestic force. Overall, the tribunal ‘s effort is to

The legal power of the Family Court at the High Court degree includes applications for a broad assortment of family-related issues, including divorce, paternity, child support, and belongings colonies. At the magisterial degree it covers issues such as child support, detention, acceptance and domestic force as it relates to these countries. The services provided by the Family Court and its design besides reflect its authorizations. For illustration, affairs are heard in meeting suites instead than tribunal suites, and parties may be referred for societal services support and/or mediation. In add-on, there are specially designed countries for bush leagues whose parents are go toing tribunal [ 13 ] .

The Family Proceeding Rules 1998 were implemented to regulate proceedings in the High Court subdivision of the Court. Thus Rule 16.5 provides that “ the Court shall take all operable stairss to promote the parties to make understanding on any disputed affairs and, in peculiar, may mention the parties to mediation ” . Rule 14.1 provides that the Court shall farther the overruling nonsubjective by “ actively pull offing instances ” and goes on to name a figure of things which this includes. Among them are the undermentioned:

( degree Celsius ) promoting the parties to utilize the most appropriate signifier of difference declaration including, in peculiar, mediation, if the tribunal considers that appropriate and by easing the usage of such processs,

( vitamin D ) promoting the parties to collaborate with each other

( I ) as to the parenting of any kids ;

( two ) in the behavior of proceedings

The Family Proceedings Rules ( FPR ) is in force in the Family Court ‘s High Court legal power. It outlines a judicial doctrine referred to as the ‘overriding objective’8. This requires that the High Court must cover with household affairs justly9 and in a manner which gives foremost and paramount consideration to the public assistance of a child10, where there are issues impacting any kid of the household. A responsibility is besides imposed on the parties to “ assist the tribunal to foster the overruling nonsubjective ” 11

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Power is expressly given by subdivision 14 ( 1 ) of the Mediation Act 2004 to a justice or magistrate to mention parties to mediation by a certified go-between in any affair other than a condemnable affair. Under subdivision 5 ( 1 ) of the Family Proceedings Act 2004 a tribunal ( which includes a magistrates ‘ tribunal ) may mention a affair or any facet of it to mediation or to the unit responsible for societal services in the tribunal or to some other professional.

Parties can be referred by a Judge or Magistrate at the Family Court for Court Annexed


The High Court

The High Court hears chargeable condemnable affairs, household affairs where the parties are married, and civil affairs affecting amounts over the junior-grade civil tribunal bound. The High Court is the tribunal of original legal power for civil and condemnable affairs, and its determinations are appealed in the Court of Appeal. It has legal power in chargeable condemnable affairs in civil and household jurisprudence instances.

The High Court of Justice is the superior tribunal of record and has all properties of such a

tribunal, including the powers granted to the Supreme Court of Judicature, except in instances

stipulated by Parliament. It hears condemnable affairs, household jurisprudence affairs affecting married parties, and civil affairs with claims higher than TT $ 15,000.

One such method involves tribunal based adjudication, or ligation, which is a contention before a tribunal or a “ case ” . A case is a civil action brought before a tribunal of jurisprudence in which a complainant, a party who claims to hold received amendss from a suspect ‘s actions, seeks a legal or just redress. The suspect is required to react to the complainant ‘s ailment. If the complainant is successful, judgement will be given in the complainant ‘s favor and a scope of tribunal orders may be issued to implement a right, award amendss, or enforce an injunction to forestall an act or oblige an act. If it is non settled by understanding between the parties it would finally be heard and decided by a justice or jury in a tribunal[ 2 ].

As indicated earlier, one of the primary ends of mediation is to continue and farther enhance the future relationships of individuals involved in a difference. The handiness of mediation in the tribunal system is a welcome enterprise in guaranting that the procedure is less formal or adversarial than that of judicial proceeding. It is informative to observe nevertheless that there are some offenses that the condemnable justness system will be more disposed. For illustration, slaying or colza.

The Petty Civil Court

The Magistracy ( in its petit larceny civil division ) deals with civil affairs which involve amounts less than 15,000.00. A claim for more than this amount must be made in the High Court. It exercises drumhead legal power in condemnable affairs and hears preliminary enquiries in chargeable affairs and thereby determines whether a affair is to be held over for test in the assizes. Civil affairs before a magistrate are heard in the Petty Civil Court. When the magistrate sits in this tribunal he or she is considered a justice of the Petty Civil Court.

Apart from being limited by a money value, the Magistrates ‘ Court is besides limited by the nature of a civil offense. Specific affairs are non heard there ; for illustration, libel, slander, malicious prosecution and in some instances title to set down. Persons wishing to convey an action for any of these would hold to register that claim in the High Court.

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Community Mediation Centres

The Community Mediation Act 1998 provides for mediation in both condemnable and civil affairs. Part I of the Act provides for mediation in condemnable affairs, while Part II provides for mediation in civil instances. The Director of Public Prosecutions ( DPP ) is entitled to be heard by the tribunal, before the tribunal determines to do a mediation order. This is one defect of the Act, in that mediation is a consensual and voluntary procedure and leting the DPP into the procedure does non truly fit in. However, it could be legitimate on the evidences that the DPP has a fundamental law duty to hold a concluding say in all condemnable prosecutions. Overall, the Act is of import to the constitution of ADR rules into the Criminal Justice System. Both the suspect and the plaintiff have a right to use for mediation.

A mediation order suspends the test and commits the instance to a go-between. Prior to this, the tribunal explains to the suspect clearly and exactly the intent and consequence of the

order, the effects for disobeying the order and the power of the tribunal to reexamine the order. During the mediation the parties may be accompanied by their attorney.

Any criminative statement made in the class of the mediation, every bit good as the go-between ‘s study are inadmissible in a tribunal of jurisprudence – in maintaining with the rules of mediation.

The act restates some of the cardinal rules of mediation by supplying for unsusceptibility of suit for the go-between and confers confidentiality on the go-between and every individual concerned with the disposal of the mediation centres or the mediation procedure.

Shortcoming – Although serious offenses should non be mediated, mediation in condemnable affairs, the jurisprudence is limited in range and provides for merely really minor and junior-grade discourtesies.

Similarly, mediation in civil affairs – the act attempts to get married the simplest types of junior-grade civil affairs with the most complicated 1s of household mediation, viz. detention and care.

Harmonizing to Deosaran ( 1995 ) community mediation can be highly applicable and utile for minor offenses and offenses committed by immature individuals, every bit good as for first clip wrongdoers.


Mediation may be utilized in junior-grade condemnable affairs, all types of civil judicial proceeding, marital affairs and commercial affairs. A new professional organic structure of Mediators will shortly develop.

From the clip that the Family Court opened, it was hailed by the media as an of import ‘weapon ‘ in the battle to reconstruct and advance household values in Trinidad and Tobago. The ‘breakdown ‘ in household life is credited with being the root cause of the many serious jobs that presently beset our society ( such as incest and kid maltreatment, increasing Numberss of street kids, rampant domestic force, increased young person offense and undiscipline in schools.

The Criminal Justice System in Trinidad and Tobago has stepped up to the challenge of presenting mechanisms to complement the current adversarial system of requital, by modifying the tone of the controversialists ‘ environment and the subsequent effectivity of ADR attacks. There is a demand for the re-introduction of the community mediation centres where junior-grade civil affairs could be heard, therefore liberating up the tribunal to judge in more serious offenses.