Commercial Court aids quicker settlement of business dispute

The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council is reporting that the Commercial Court has seen a steady increase in the number of filings and consequently quicker settlement of disputes. 

Filings have increased over the last three years from 44 cases in 2016 to 100 cases in 2018.  The Commercial Division of the Registry of the High Court has been in operation from January 19, 2016. 

The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council, headed by Fiona Compton, was given the lead role in the establishment of the Commercial Court as part of  a number of reforms aimed at improving St. Lucia’s position on the Ease of Doing Business ranking.

Registrar of the High Court, Charon Gardner-Hippolyte, who oversees the Civil, Criminal and Commercial Divisions of the Court stated prior to the establishment of the Commercial Court matters of a commercial nature fell in the cue in order of priority alongside divorce cases, land disputes, adoption, probate cases, traffic matters and the like.

She noted this figure gets even more impressive when expressed in terms of the dollar value which goes through the court.  From the 44 cases filed in 2016 over EC$7 million when through the court while 2017 with 84 cases file this figure was just under EC$50 million. In 2018 the figure was over EC$100 million”

A Legal Officer is now attached to the Commercial Division to assist the judge in delivering decisions in a very timely fashion. The Registrar pointed out that matters are usually dealt with within a 14 to 21 day period with judgments being delivered between 3 to 6 months.