If you choose to represent yourself in any court proceedings, you may need to file documents relating to your matter online through the Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago's E-Services platform. This relates to all court matters with the exception of trade disputes before the industrial court since that court requires physical filings only.
You will be required to create an account as a "litigant in person" (also called a "lay litigant") to do so and may create this account here.
Once your account has been created, you can file the document by visiting the E-Services platform here.You can also access the Judiciary's E-Services platform by visiting the Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago's website. You'll be asked to log in and to select the type of matter, that is, whether its a civil action, criminal, appeal, petty civil etc:
For most of these options, you will then be asked where the matter has been filed. For example, for civil matters, your options are either Port of Spain, San Fernando or Tobago. For family matters, these may be Port of Spain or Princes Town. If you've been served with court proceedings, you can find out where the matter has been filed by looking at the court stamp on the document in the upper left hand corner of the document.
It's a simple matter after that of selecting the type of document that you're filing and entering some simple information (the names of the parties, the reference number of the proceedings (for example, civil actions start with "CV", family matters start with "FH" and appeals start with either "S", "T" or "P") and the name of the document that you're filing. In all cases, you'd find the reference number on the first page of the document just above the names of the parties, typically to the left of the page.
Remember, many court documents require specific forms and formats. Some of these are accessible from the Judiciary's website here (for civil matters) and here (for family matters) or, for petty civil matters (such as matters with a value of less than $50,000.00) here. Civil matters (High Court and Court of Appeal but not Petty Civil Court) must also be accompanied by a filing form but these aren't needed for family matters or industrial court matters.
If you're representing yourself and you're now getting up to speed on what has happened in your matter so far, you can request the audio recordings or transcripts of previous hearings in your matter by completing this form (and emailing it to email@example.com). You can request office copies of documents filed in the matter so far by filling out the form here. In most, but not all, cases if you've only just been served with the court documents, there are not likely to have been any other documents than that with which you've been served or any hearings in your absence. This is not always the case though, such as where an injunction has been requested or where other preliminary applications were required.
The Judiciary also makes provision for persons who may not be able to access these e-services otherwise through their virtual access customer centres. You may contact the court office nearest to you to enquire whether there is a VACC at that location. You can do this by telephone to 868-224-5182 or 868-628-8529 or 868-235-2988 or 868-223-1060.
Some other helpful email addresses for the various departments and offices within the Judiciary may be found here.
Remember, this just takes you through the process and procedure of filing if you're representing yourself. If you are starting or defending legal proceedings it is always advisable to obtain legal advice and/or to retain a lawyer to represent your interests. If you need help choosing a lawyer, you can check out our page here.
Last updated on 11 June 2023.