The Magistracy exercises original jurisdiction in relation to summary criminal matters. The Magistrates’ Courts also facilitate Preliminary Inquiries into serious criminal matters to determine whether a prima facie case has been established against an accused person before he or she can be indicted for trial at the High Court Division of the Supreme Court. The Petty Civil Court Division of the Magistracy deals with civil matters involving small money claims of less than $15,000.00.
There are 13 magisterial districts in Trinidad and Tobago:
- St George West (covering Port of Spain and environs)
- San Fernando
- Point Fortin
- Sangre Grande
- Princes Town
- Rio Claro
- Scarborough (Tobago)
The Chief Magistrate is supported in these districts by a Deputy Chief Magistrate, 13 Senior Magistrates, and 42 Magistrates, six of them temporary. More than one Magistrate’s Court operates in some of these districts. A Clerk of the Peace is attached to each of the courts. The Courts are also administered by a complement of seven Area Court Managers.