To enhance the development of the Administration of Justice through the provision of legal information that is timely and relevant, provided by highly trained and competent staff, while utilising resources available at the local, regional and international level.
ABOUT THE COURT LIBRARY SERVICES UNIT
The Court Library Services Unit was created in 1998. The Unit’s main thrust is to offer a centralized and co-ordinated library service to the Judiciary, the legal community and researchers in the law. The Unit's Libraries are as follows:-
- The Supreme Court Library, Port of Spain
- The Judges’ Library, Port of Spain [formerly the Court of Appeal Library]
- The Supreme Court Library, San Fernando
- The Supreme Court Library, Tobago
- The Family Court Library, Port of Spain
- The Magistracy Library, Port of Spain.
The Library was founded in 1880 in Trinidad with a collection of approximately five thousand [5,000] volumes and an officer without formal library training at its helm. The library served the Judicial Officers of the Court and was utilised by Barristers only for reference purposes. It was accommodated in one room of the Red House, which housed both the Parliament and the Judiciary.It was not until 1960 that a formal library structure was put in place and the first qualified librarian, Mrs. Ethelwyn Veronica Celestain, was appointed. This decade was to be one of monumental change and development in the Law Libraries. Trinidad and Tobago became an independent nation in 1962, an Appeal Court was established and provisions were made for an Appeal Court Library to serve as a reference library for the Chief Justice and Justices of Appeal. Three years later the San Fernando Supreme Court Library was established and in 1975 the Tobago Supreme Court Library.The Libraries of the Supreme Court are under the control and management of a Law Library Committee with the Chief Justice as Chairman. Rules of the Law Library of the Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago were formulated in 1962.The Library was first housed at the Red House in Port of Spain and moved a number of times over the years. It has found its permanent place on the Third Floor at the Hall of Justice since 1985. The Library has also established branches in each of the sub-registries: San Fernando and Tobago. The six libraries which comprise the Court Library Services Unit, together with the collections situated in the Chief Justice and Judges’ Chambers have approximately 100,000 volumes. Collections are also maintained in the Magisteral Districts throughout the country as well as in certain administrative departments of the Judiciary. In May 2004 the Family Court Library was opened at the same time as the pilot Family Court.
The Magistracy Library in Port of Spain was re-opened in January 2007.
COURT LIBRARY LOCATIONS
The Supreme Court Library has three locations, one in Port of Spain, one in San Fernando and one in Scarborough, Tobago. There are two libraries in Port of Spain, the Court of Appeal Library [exclusively for judges] and the High Court Library. There is also a library in the Family Court that serves the Supreme Court and Magisterial jurisdictions.The Magistracy Library in POS serves the needs of all the Magistrates and may be accessed by any judicial officer in the Judiciary. It is not open to the public. The Judges’ Library serves the research needs of all the Judges of the Supreme Court.
|Supreme Court Library
Hall of Justice, Third Floor, Knox Street,
Port of Spain
||Supreme Court Library,
Hall of Justice,
|Supreme Court Library,
Hall of Justice,
||Family Court Library,
4 Cipriani Boulevard
Port of Spain
|The Judges’ Library
Hall of Justice, Knox Street
Port of Spain, Trinidad
||The Magistracy Library
Cor. St. Vincent and Duke Sts.
Port of Spain.
P.O. Box 55
Port of Spain
Trinidad and Tobago
Hours of Service: [at all locations]
8:00 a.m. -4:00 p.m.
Port of Spain: 1-868-624-8049; 1-868-623-7969
Family Court: 1-868-623-7127
San Fernando: 1-868-652-2152; 1-868-657-3391
Tobago: 1-868-639-2640; 1-868-635-1513
Port of Spain: 1-868-627-8489
Family Court: 1-868-624-3620
San Fernando: 1-868-657-3391
Port of Spain: firstname.lastname@example.org
The staff of the Supreme Court Library comprised three persons in 1960: two qualified Librarians and one Library Assistant. The position today with seventeen members of staff, inclusive of four Librarians, reflects the strides which the library has made over the thirty year period and the conscious recognition of the decision makers to improve the quality of service to its users.
The Supreme Court Library is open to all the Judges and Magistrates of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as all legal practitioners entitled to practice in the courts of Trinidad and Tobago. Researchers in the Law attached to universities are also facilitated. Limited access is given to law students attending the Hugh Wooding Law School. The Library also has co-operative links with other Law Libraries both at home and internationally.
Assistance by Library Staff
The Library Staff will provide reference assistance but will not explain or interpret any legal material.
Computer Use at the Libraries
There are a number of Public Workstations at the libraries of the Court Library Services Unit. These are to allow users to access the Unit’s Web Interface which includes: the online catalogue, lists of new materials received, access to e-documents such as practice directions, amendments to rules of court and new legislation as well as the library’s selection of useful websites.
Computer use is on a first come first served basis. The computers have been programmed to allow use in one hour segments. Use may be extended at the discretion of the Librarian.
The library in Port of Spain carries out the centralized purchasing of material for the libraries at all the locations.
Library services include:
- reference and circulation of material to patrons
- indexing and abstracting of the judgments of the Supreme Court
- provision of the Court Libraries Gateway to facilitate research and access to the Unit's services including the Online catalogue
- updating of legislation
- current awareness services to judges
- maintenance of an information file
- maintenance of a collection in each judges chambers
- interlibrary loans
- automated databases
- fee-based services
- photocopying services
- document delivery
- providing material to judges for court matters, at the request of Attorneys-at-Law.
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