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Island-wide coronavirus-containment measures have forced Cayman’s court system to enter ‘level 3 procedures’ of its emergency continuity plan.
“In light of the very real risk that COVID-19 cases may arise in the Cayman Islands, and risk of the pandemic spreading in our islands, as part of the Cayman Islands Government’s Continuity of Operations and safety measures to keep our staff and public safe, Judicial Administration is now taking proactive measures to reduce crowds entering our premises on a daily basis and to limit unnecessary human contact,” said Suzanne Bothwell, the court administrator, in a letter posted to the main court building’s front door.
The emergency plan, which took effect on Tuesday, 17 March, focusses on social distancing through the reduction and relocation of several non-essential services, the staggering of court appearances by alphabetical surname of defendants, and increased sanitation measures.
People collecting funds from the court must now do so online or visit the new collection location.
“Court Funds will be suspending collection of Court Funds cheques at reception in the main building,” said Bothwell. “Court Funds Maintenance clients are once again invited to immediately migrate over to our convenient online banking transfer service which was launched in 2019 and to which all court funds maintenance clients were invited to subscribe.”
She said for people who do not have online banking, cheques can be collected on the fourth floor of the former Scotiabank building in George Town, but only on Mondays between 10am and 2pm.
For people looking to make a payment for issues such as speeding tickets, the courts will now allow them to make the payments even if they have not been registered in the system.
“Traffic tickets are still to be paid on time,” read a post on the court’s website. “New hours of operation for the Finance Centre (Kirk House, Albert Panton Street) is 9am to 1pm. Customers are advised that even if your ticket has not been transferred to the Court’s Officer from the RCIPS, that, with immediate effect, court staff will process the ticket upon production to allow payment.”
Another part of the emergency plan will now require defendants before the summary, criminal and traffic courts to appear on a staggered system based on their last names. People whose surnames begin with the letters A to M are to attend court for 10am, while people with last names beginning with N to Z are to report to court at 11am.
“For the time being, jury service continues for pending (trials); however, larger jury accommodation is being provided, and we are now making decisions regarding whether or not the next session, April 1, will, in fact, proceed,” said Bothwell.
Other aspects of the emergency plan include requiring people to use hand sanitiser when they walk through the court entrance. Several doors in the court building are now propped open to allow people to pass through publicly accessible parts of the courts, without touching door handles. Other warnings advise people who are sick or have flu-like symptoms to stay out of the building.
For more information on filing criminal court documents,
legal aid and family maintenance matters click here.
Press Release by the Hon. Chief Justice: The Courts’ response to the Coronavirus crisis
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