Bahamas Industrial Tribunal Moves to Fully Digitize its Services

NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Bahamas is on the verge of launching two new digital services that will move its Industrial Tribunal towards a fully digitized court management system.

ATTorAttorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Carl Bethel, QC, at courtesy call with President of the Industrial Tribunal Indira Demeritte Francis (left), along with Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Legal Affairs Cecilia Strachan. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)The Tribunal, as part of its ongoing partnership with the Caribbean Agency for Justice Solutions, APEX, is in the final stage of testing a new system to allow the Department of Labour to digitally send certificates of referral to the Tribunal. It is also awaiting the opening of the new court term to launch a notification system that provides users with a simple and personal way to send and receive electronic alerts concerning matters before the court.

Subscribers to the new service will, for example, be immediately notified of court date, room or session changes, as well as be reminded of any upcoming court appearances.

President of the Tribunal, Indira Demeritte-Francis, noted that “court technology and mobile services are radically modernizing the way the public does business with our courts.”

She said that the new services, both firsts for courts in The Bahamas, are the latest addition in a series of innovations being pioneered at the Tribunal as part of a larger initiative to improve the quality of justice service being offered to Bahamians.

In 2019, the Tribunal implemented the APEX Folio e-Filing system, Attache e-case management system and Curia online adjudication system, in record time.

The Bahamas Attorney General, Senator Carl Bethel, Q.C., noted that as one of the signatory members of APEX, the country has benefitted tangibly from the agency’s responsiveness and technological solutions. He explained that APEX’s applications have all been tailored to the needs of courts in the Caribbean.

“The digital services being introduced will improve access to justice for applicants and respondents. This is about making life easier for the poor man, the poor woman, for the poor litigant, particularly in industrial matters”, said the Attorney General.

He also noted that it will reduce the burden of responsibility of court staff trying to locate members of the public who are parties to an action in the Industrial Tribunal, to advise them of their court dates.

“It is a beautifully working system that the Tribunal was able to access with the assistance of the Caribbean Court of Justice, and that just goes to speak to the strong professional connections that there are among our judiciary and some of our senior tribunalists, with the highest levels of Caribbean judiciary,” he stressed.

APEX Executive Director, Bevil Wooding, explained that the agency has been working closely with the Bahamas Tribunal and the Attorney General from the agency’s inception.

“The Bahamas is a signatory member of APEX and our collaboration has allowed us to jointly identify areas of need and design appropriate interventions using Caribbean-built technology solutions. As the Industrial Tribunal moves to pioneer another court innovation using APEX technology, we all agree that a win for The Bahamas is success for the entire Caribbean,” he stated.