On Thursday, 14th October 2021 at 10.00 a.m., the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) hosted a media briefing and joint virtual launch of its E-Litigation Portal for the Member States of the Commonwealth of Dominica and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. This launching ceremony commemorated the achievement of a significant milestone for the ECSC which is the completion of the first phase of the implementation of the Portal across the 9 Member States and Territories.
This launch of the E-Litigation Portal was the first to be twined and held entirely virtually, with over 117 participants from across the OECS attending via the Zoom platform. It was attended by judicial officers of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, as well as representatives from the Governments of the Commonwealth of Dominica and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; namely, the Hon. Rayburn Blackmoore, Minister of National Security and Home Affairs, Commonwealth of Dominica, The Hon. Jaundy Martin, Attorney General, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, The Hon. Levi A. Peter, Attorney General, Commonwealth of Dominica. Several legal practitioners from the private and public bars, members of staff of the ECSC Headquarters and from the Commonwealth of Dominica and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines High Court as well as members of the media also joined us on this momentous occasion.
At the commencement of the launch, the E-Litigation Portal was described by the Chief Registrar, Mrs. Michelle John-Theobalds, as an integrated e-filing and case management web-based application which will provide court users and all stakeholders with access to assigned services anytime, anywhere and on any device, including smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. The Chief Registrar also emphasised that the E-Litigation Portal was custom made specifically for the ECSC, having regard to its needs, as a platform to improve the delivery of justice to the citizens of the OECS.
In their brief remarks, the Hon. Rayburn Blackmoore, Minister of National Security and Home Affairs, Commonwealth of Dominica and the Hon. Jaundy Martin, Attorney General, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines both highlighted the importance of the E-Litigation Portal and pledged the full support of their respective governments to the ECSC. They affirmed that the rule of law must be upheld even amidst the ongoing pandemic.
Her Ladyship, The Hon. Dame Janice M. Pereira, DBE, Chief Justice, used the launch as an opportunity to underscore the advantages of the E-Litigation Portal. The Hon. Chief Justice explained that the Portal will contribute towards increasing the transparency of court services and access to the court by litigants, as well as speedier resolution of cases and greater costs savings to court users, and their governments. Her Ladyship stated
that it cannot be overemphasised that the people of the Commonwealth of Dominica and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines deserve a modern responsive system of justice, equal to any in any developed region of the world, and that this ideal cannot be achieved without increased reliance on modern technologies such as the Portal.
The Hon. Chief Justice, in closing, informed that the ECSC is now moving into the second phase of the Portal’s implementation, which will see an expansion in the types of matters covered under the Portal. Her Ladyship expressed that the ECSC looks forward to the continued support of all its stakeholders, and that through working together the people of the Eastern Caribbean will have access to a system of justice in which they can remain proud.
The ECSC received testimonials via Zoom on the use of the E-Litigation Portal from stakeholders in the Members States and Territories where the Portal is already in place, namely, Mrs. Gina Dyer Munro, Attorney-at-Law, Dyer & Dyer, Attorneys-At-Law and Notaries Public, Commonwealth of Dominica Mr. Derick F. Sylvester, Attorney-at-Law, Derick F. Sylvester & Associates, Grenada; Ms. Gloria Ohiagu, Court Administrator, Montserrat High Court and our very own Mr. Carlos C. Michel, Deputy Chief Registrar, ECSC Headquarters. They all shared their very positive experiences using the Portal with the audience.
The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) was established in 1967 by the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court Order No. 223 of 1967. The ECSC is a superior court of record for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), which includes six Independent States: Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and three British Overseas Territories: Anguilla, The Virgin Islands, and Montserrat. The Court has unlimited jurisdiction in each Member State and Territory.
To learn more about the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and the e-Litigation Portal, please visit our website at: www.eccourts.org or call us at Tel: 758-457-3600.