The instituting of the Commercial Division of the High Court is likely to have a direct impact on easing the burden on the high court, provide better efficiency in commercial matters, enhance the business environment, promote the socio-economic development of Saint Lucia as well as the potential impacts on increasing the levels of investment.
To this end, the inauguration of the Commercial Division of the High Court occurred on January 19, 2016. The Compete Caribbean Program through a technical assistance project being facilitated by the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) was instrumental in funding various aspects of the implementation of the Division. As such, Compete Caribbean has provided funding assistance towards the training of the staff of the Division as well as members of the Bar Association.
The facilitator of the training was the Deputy Registrar for the Commercial Division of the British Virgin Islands-Ms. Noni Georges. The three day training workshop focused on the Commercial Court rules and practice. Her training with the staff of the Registry of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in Saint Lucia was conducted over a two day period and one day for attorneys at the Bar Association.
The training session for the staff sought to draw on the experiences of the commercial list in the BVI, highlighting lessons learned and procedures adopted to facilitate the handling of matters and capture information on the performance of the court. The staff session also sought to review and familiarize the officers with the new commercial court rules and practice direction. Ms. Georges focused on the differences in relation to the new Commercial rules and Civil Procedure Rules 2000. In particular the requirements for issuing claims and applications in the commercial division, categorizing applications, listing of chamber applications, case management conferences, pre-trial review, and preparation of materials or “bundles” for the court’s use.
The Training session for the Attorneys highlighted the intended procedures, provided
guidance on the appropriate form for the statement of suitability, and the preparation and lodging of bundles. Ms. Georges hopes that this session will result in an introductory Commercial Court Guide to provide practitioners with a forum for feedback on the practice, procedure and service experience at the Court.
To conclude, it is anticipated that the training session for the staff will build their capacity to ensure the seamless operations of the court. This is critical in ensuring that a high quality of service is provided to the business community in Saint Lucia. This reform is expected to strengthen the enabling environment for private sector led economic growth.