NEW court rules have been issued for the operation of the courts during the covid19 state of emergency.
The new practice directions, issued by the Chief Justice on Wednesday, replaces those issued on Monday.
There was only one minor change to the new rules as it related to the time for all court directions.
The new directions now allow for time to cease to run until June 30 in respect of all timelines prescribed for filing and orders made by the court, except for any order of the court for the filing of submissions made before May 18, 2021, and the payment of maintenance.
It also suspended the collection, by the Judiciary, of traffic tickets issued before May 26, 2020, until further notice. Already payment of tickets up to this period has seen a 50 per cent discount and two extensions.
Traffic tickets received from May 27, 2020 to the present can be paid at select TTPost outlets as part of the Ministry of Works UTURN system which includes a new electronic ticketing system,
Already all court buildings are closed to the public and the Judiciary is offering several e-service options, with exceptions for urgent matters, including payment of cash bail, but these are by appointment only.
The Chief Justice at midnight issued new emergency practice directions and the latest, which took effect on Monday, continue until further notice.
The court rules allow for e-filing of court documents and virtual trials, while unrepresented members of the public can make appointments to visit a court to use a kiosk.
Last week, the Assembly of Southern Lawyers for a suspension of all court directions until the covid19 public health restrictions were lifted.
ASL president Michael Rooplal, in his letter to the Chief Justice, said while legal services have been deemed essential, its members have lamented the risks involved in having the public visit their offices to ensure compliance with the court’s directions, in particular in cases which require their clients to execute documents for filing on time.
Rooplal on Tuesday said this addition to the rules addressed his members’ concerns.
The new rules suspends the payment of fines and court-ordered compensation until June 30 and the payment of mask fines can be done from July 1-September 7.
Hearings for contesting the notices – covering the period September 5, 2020-June 30 – run from Ocrtober 5-August 9, 2022.
The collection of payments by the Judiciary for traffic tickets, which already saw a 50 per cent discount, and several extensions for payments, have been suspended until further notice, according to the practice directions.
Service and commissioner fees were also suspended until the end of June as court marshals and bailiffs service services are limited to matters of urgency.