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Legal Fraternity Examines C.A.T. System

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Contact: John Emmanuel

BS01157_.WMF (12360 bytes)March 10, 1999 - The introduction of court reporting into St. Lucia’s law courts got a much-needed boost Tuesday, when Hinkson Litigation Support Services of Canada, demonstrated its latest state-of-the-art Computer Aided Transcript (CAT) System to legal officials.

Dexter Theodore who heads the St. Lucia Bar Association says, the move to introduce court reporting was first mooted by his Organisation back in 1997. "We think that will increase the efficiency of the court and are very happy to see this demonstration being carried out. We think that there needs to be some co-operation between the government and the court with a view to arriving at a adequate system."

The Computer Aided Transcript system uses voice recognition in that it allows the court reporter to speak into a mask, with the words appearing on a screen simultaneously.

Legal Affairs Minister the Hon. Velon John says the much needed system would serve in expediting the administrative process, making it possible for the relevant documents to be submitted in the appropriate time frames, thereby reducing costly delays. "St. Lucia definitely has to get a system, since we cannot afford to enter the 21 century without one. In this regard we have been viewing several competing systems and will chose the best proposal."

In the words of Chief Registrar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court - Indra Hariprashad Charles – the system chosen for St. Lucia however must be in expensive, combined with the factors of efficiency, and effectiveness. "This CAT system can save us a lot of money. Think of the cost of employing two more judges as oppose to having an efficient court reporting system. It will also be helpful in dealing with a situation that has occurred in the past where people challenge the Judges notes of evidence. With this system you can simple go back and play the tape or read the verbatim record word for word."

Several other OECS member countries have expressed interest in changing over to the Computer Aided Transcript System in their courts of law.


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