VI First To Implement E-Litigation Criminal Module

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(PLTM) - GIS - The Virgin Islands has become the first jurisdiction to implement the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court’s (ECSC) e-litigation criminal module.

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court’s (ECSC) e-litigation portal provides a platform for submitting and processing court documents electronically. The addition of the criminal module allows for the expansion of the portal to include the electronic management of criminal cases and documents.

Speaking at the launch ceremony held at the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands, Premier and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Dr. Natalio Wheatley said, “The executive branch remains good partners in this nation building exercise. We look forward to providing support to ensure that the administration of justice here in the Virgin Islands is one that we can all be proud of.”

Her Ladyship, The Honourable Dame Janice M. Pereira, DBE, LL.D, Chief Justice reflected on the initial roll out of the E-Litigation portal for civil matters, noting that the expansion of the portal to criminal matters was always intended.

The Chief Justice said, “We knew we had to get to other parts of the portal, and we continued that work along with our team and the developers in ensuring that the product that we bring is fit-for purpose. We are now implementing the very last module within that e-litigation portal system, which is to introduce the criminal module and we are happy to start again in the Territory of the Virgin Islands.”

Dame Pereira explained that the new module will benefit the criminal division of the court by introducing electronic filing for documents such as indictments and complaints.

“We are really happy that we have gotten to this stage which, in essence, will close the circle in relation to what we have sought to do with the e-litigation portal to ensure that there is access to justice for everyone at any time,” the Chief Justice added.

Deputy Governor, Mr. David D. Archer Jr. acknowleded the work of the Chief Justice and officers of the Judiciary who are able to impact the lives of those around them and the wider community.

The Deputy Governor said, “I know of the sacrifices that you make as Judges and Magistrates and people who keep the court together. To be able to take us forward, we have to commit every single day to make ourselves better and make the people around us better, so we can celebrate beyond this point for the new generation to come.”

Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms. Tiffany R. Scatliffe, LLM. acknowledged the hard work and resources that went into developing and expanding the e-litigation platform and affirmed her office’s commitment to the criminal justice system and the Crown.

Ms. Scatliffe said, “E-litigation is only one aspect of the criminal justice system and it is important that we have a mutual consensus to develop and improve the criminal justice system as this will always benefit the Territory in the immediate and the long term.”

Prior to the official launch of the criminal module, a series of training sessions was held at the Department of Information Technology (I.T.) to ensure that relevant stakeholders would be able to navigate the platform once implemented. Judges, Magistrates, the High Court Staff, Magistrates Court Staff, members of the Criminal Bar and Counsels at DPP Chambers all benefitted from the all-day training, instructed by I.T. Manager for the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Mr. Mark Ernest.

Civil procedure in the Virgin Islands Supreme Court and its appellate courts is regulated by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. To learn more about the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and the e-Litigation Portal, persons can visit www.eccourts.org or call 758-457-3600.

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