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.
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. 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.
The Unit has institutional membership in:
- ACURIL - Association of Caribbean, University, Research and Institutional Libraries
- CARALL - Caribbean Association of Law Libraries.