The Family Court of Trinidad and Tobago is a unified Court with two jurisdictions, the High Court and Magisterial Court operating, in the same building. The High Court is presided over by a High Court Judge (Puisne Judge) and the Magisterial Court is presided over by a Magistrate - both are referred to as Judicial Officers.
Unlike traditional Courts, the Family Court accommodates self- representing or unrepresented persons through a customer friendly process for both the High Court and Magisterial Court jurisdiction.
While both Judicial Officers preside in the same Court building, there are different jurisdictions and laws that guide them in the decision making process, and these laws determine the types of matters that can be heard by a Judge and a Magistrate.
THE HIGH COURT
Persons wishing to make an application in the High Court jurisdiction should seek legal advice or representation to present accurate and relevant information to the Court.
It is important to note that members of staff of the Family Court are not legally trained officers with the exception of the Judicial Officers and Registrars. As a result, legal guidance is NOT provided to our customers; only procedural information and identification of general information that should be included in some documents.
THE MAGISTERIAL COURT
Persons wishing to make an application in the Magistrates' Court jurisdiction must visit the Court, to have all relevant applications and documents prepared.
The Family Court assists these customers by:
- Providing information on the various types of applications
- Preparing all applications and other supporting documents
- Processing applications and documents so that they reach the attention of a Judicial Officer