Quicker Resolution to Commercial Disputes in St. Lucia

Castries, St. Lucia, January 19, 2016 – The Commercial Division of the High Court in St. Lucia was officially launched on January 19th, 2016.

During the opening ceremony, Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony highlighted that the new division is expected to ease the volume of civil cases in the high court, bringing a quicker resolution of commercial disputes thus improving the efficiency of the judicial system.

The Prime Minister expressed the hope that the investment climate would also be enriched. He said a commercial court was important in protecting the rights of business people and members of the public. According to Anthony, there would also be the positive externality of greater contract enforcement in St. Lucia.

“Thousands of contracts are entered into every day, yet there seems to be little understanding that contractual obligations are sacred,” he asserted. Anthony, a former University of the West Indies Law Lecturer, made reference to delinquent contractors who agree on one price to construct a home, but claim compensation for unexpected costs upon completion.

“These experiences can be repeated in a whole range of transactions,” the Prime Minister told his audience. He said the situation represented not only a legal but a cultural problem. “This is one instance where culture compromises the application of the law,” Anthony asserted.

In acknowledging the work of Compete Caribbean, and its contribution to the establishment of the Commercial Division of the High Court, the Prime Minister said “I single out the partnership with Compete Caribbean. The Government has benefitted tremendously from its partnership with Compete Caribbean. Since 2012, after the signing of the grant agreement, Compete Caribbean has assisted the Government in the establishment of the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) with the mandate to enhance productivity and competitiveness. As part of that same technical assistance grant, it was agreed that the establishment of the Commercial Division would be coordinated through the newly formed NCPC on behalf of the Government of Saint Lucia. Let me take the opportunity to thank Compete Caribbean for the continued support provided to Saint Lucia.”

The Compete Caribbean Program through a technical assistance project being facilitated by the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) was instrumental in funding various aspects of the implementation of the Division.  As such, Compete Caribbean has provided funding assistance towards the training of the staff of the Division as well as to members of the St. Lucia Bar Association.

Click here to read Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony’s full address