THE EQUAL Opportunity Tribunal (EOT) will Wednesday hold its first trial in Tobago.
The trial takes place at the Tobago High Court in Scarborough, at 10 am.
A statement from the EOT said the Judiciary has offered its facilities for use by the tribunal on the day of the trial, which will be presided over by its chairman Donna Prowell-Raphael, who will sit with lay assessor Leela Ramdeen.
The tribunal has previously hosted sittings in Tobago but these were directions hearings. Over the last seven months, the chairman and staff have been working to implement new systems and structures with state of the art initiatives that will make the court and its’ services more accessible to attorneys and litigants in Tobago.
These initiatives include the installation of a digital database, video conferencing facilities to come on stream early in 2019, electronic filing and accessibility to transcripts in a short time frame.
All the matters of the tribunal are now stored digitally. The historical process for each matter can now be recorded in detail and be readily available. With the introduction of the digital database the Court now has the ability to provide automated Email reminders to attorneys of court deadlines and hearings. These will be issued four days before the event.
Not only can electronic reminders be provided, but the EOT said it was very excited to that video conferencing facilities for case management would soon be available.
This means that attorneys in Tobago will no longer need to travel to Trinidad for case management hearings. The EOT said the state-of-the-art system will allow it to provide a video link to attorneys permitting them to access and attend video- conferences out of their chambers - on their desk-tops, lap-tops, tablets, or even cell phones.
In addition to voice recordings, the tribunal will have verbatim transcripts of the trials. These can be requested within two weeks of the end of a trial and will be made available in soft or hard copy at a nominal cost.
Another major priority for the tribunal is the establishment of electronic filing.
The tribunal is a superior court of record with similar status to that of the High Court and the Industrial Court with powers to impose fines, make orders for damages and/or grant injunctions to persons who feel they are being discriminated against.