Hall of Justice Port of Spain
THE Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) is going to contact the Chief Medical Officer about steps to be taken “to reduce risks associated with in-person hearings” in the courts.
Chief Justice Ivor Archie in a practice direction last week banned all “in-person” hearings except in domestic violence matters.
Justices Carol Gobin and Frank Seepersad have taken objection to the banning of “in-person” hearings.
In a statement to its members on Wednesday, President of LATT Douglas Mendes, SC, said his council met to discuss the communications between Justices Gobin and Seepersad and Chief Justice Archie.
Mendes said, “Council was sympathetic to the view that virtual trials are not ideal and that in-person hearings should be held if they can be done safely.
“Council was also sympathetic to the view that there is an abiding need to ensure that judicial business, when conducted, be done in such a way as to ensure the safety of the judiciary, practitioners, members of the Judiciary staff and members of the public.
“We are satisfied that while there is a difference of opinion among members of the judiciary as to the holding of in-person hearings at this point in time, the views expressed suggest they all have the interests of the public and the administration of justice at heart.
“We encourage the Judiciary to take advantage of this wellspring of goodwill and to engage in meaningful consultation amongst its members and with the Bar on the appropriate measures which should be adopted.
“For our part, the Council has decided to make contact with the Chief Medical Officer to discuss what reasonable steps may be taken, if any, to reduce risks associated with in-person hearings in accordance with international standard practice and procedure.”