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Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Courts of Law

What are the different types of Courts in Trinidad and Tobago?

ÉDeals with appeals from the Court of Appeal
ÒSupreme Court {Court of Appeal & High Court}
ÒHigh Court
ÉIndictable criminal matters  (require jury)
ÉCivil matters over TT$15,000
ÉFamily matters for married couples only
ÉAppeals go to the Court of Appeal
ÒMagistrates Court - Court of first instance for
ÉSummary criminal offences
ÉCivil matters
ÒFamily Court

Friday, 25 May 2012

Paternity Test Order

Q: I am an outside child and my father is denying me, how can I get him to have a paternity test done?

A: According to Section 10 of the Status of Children Act 1983, as amended, you can apply to the court to order the paternity test.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Hail Chelsea!


What a match! WOW! Please indulge me as I take time out to congratulate my favourite football team. When it comes to club football, Chelsea was, and still is my "home team" because I lived right across the Thames river from Stamford Bridge. I have supported Chelsea for many years, and I will continue to do so for many more.


Sunday, 13 May 2012

T&T's First Time Home Purchase Programme

The issue of home-ownership being a privilege and not a right came up in a casual conversation; sooooo... this blog entry is not as a result of a question from one of the 50,000+ visitors to this website since 2010, but I thought it would be useful information for many who I'm sure do not know.

Taken directly from the government's website:
What is the First Home Purchase Subsidy?

The programme is designed for persons who would like to acquire their first house, but would not qualify for the mortgage because of limited finances.

Who can apply for this Programme?

Any citizen of Trinidad and Tobago who has identified a home for purchase and requires assistance to buy a home.

What are the necessary criteria?

  • The applicant must not own any property for dwelling purposes
  • Total household income must fall within one of the two income brackets listed below:

Annual income
Maximum Home value
Subsidy amount
$ 24,000.00- $40,000.00
$ 40,001.00- $65,000.00

(Please note the higher your annual income the lower the subsidy)

What are the documents to be submitted?

a.    Birth Certificate.
b.    ID or Passport.
c.     Evidence of citizenship (if applicable)
d.    Marriage Certificate. (if applicable)
e.    Certificate of title/ Deed.
f.      Recent pay slip and job letter, where people are self employed an affidavit attesting to their income would be accepted.
g.    Quotation for construction
h.    Affidavit stating that they do not own any property for dwelling purposes.

Do I have to repay this subsidy?


Sunday, 6 May 2012

Swords: Offensive Weapons?

Q: Good day, is it legal for someone to carry a sword on their person in public?

A: Firstly, I must say that this is the strangest question I have ever been asked.

To answer your question:

The Restriction of Offensive Weapons Act 1960 prohibits "the importation, manufacture, sale or other disposition of certain offensive weapons". There is no definition of an "offensive weapon".

The Prevention of Crime (Offensive Weapons) Act 1953 prohibits "the carrying of offensive weapons in public places without lawful authority or reasonable excuse".

The Act seeks to add clarity by including the following definitions:
  • “public place” includes any highway and any other premises or place to which at the material time the public have or are permitted to have access, whether on payment or otherwise.
  • “offensive weapon” means any article made or adapted for use for causing injury to the person, or intended by the person having it with him for such use by him.
This law is flawed because of the definition of an offensive weapon. "Adapted for use for causing injury" is subjective. Which is capable of causing more harm: a well sharpened pencil or a blunt sword?

The Act basically implies that a weapon is only offensive if the person in possession of the weapon has the intention of using it to injure. So technically, one can walk in public with a sword just for show and still fall within the remit of the law.

Regardless of this archaic, poorly written legislation, I would not advise you to walk around with a sword, or similar object, unless, maybe, it's sheathed and definitely not intended to be used as a weapon. However, the Police do the arresting, and I'm sure that you will be arrested for such an act.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Attorney complaints in Trinidad and Tobago

Q: I paid an Attorney for a service since September 2011 and he has not done anything. He has refused to give me a full refund, instead offering to return half of what I gave him. 

A: Every client has a right to file a complaint or grievance against an Attorney who has acted in an unethical, incompetent, or criminal manner.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of quacks in Trinidad and Tobago calling themselves Lawyers, who fall into one, or all of the aforementioned categories.

Here are the steps to follow if you are not satisfied with your Attorney's performance:

1. Raise your concern with your Attorney in writing.

2. Consult with another Attorney. If you can't afford it, contact the Disciplinary Committee at the Hall of Justice.

3. At the offices of the Disciplinary Committee you will be given two forms:
Form 1 is the formal application to the Disciplinary Committee.
Form 2 is an affidavit which must be sworn by you before a Justice of the Peace/Commissioner of Affidavits/Notary Public.

I STRONGLY suggest that you consult an Attorney because these forms may be too complicated for non-legal minds.