Published On: Thu, May 24th, 2018

Common Court books 1.5 million loss

Court Room St. Maarten

PHILIPSBURG – The Common Court of Justice suffered a loss of just over 1.5 million guilders (close to $838,000) in 2017. Additional costs due to Hurricane Irma are only part of the reason for the negative result. The court’s 2017 annual report furthermore cites investments in digitization and automation (the GEAR case registration system) and the establishment of a staff provision in connection with long-term illness and unused holidays.

Compared to 2016, the courts in first instance handled 22 percent more cases in 2017. The total number of cases for the year was 44,067. Most cases were handled in Curacao (26,105), followed by Aruba (11,427), St. Maarten (4,499) and the BES-islands (2,036).

In 2016, the courts handled 37,510 cases. The annual report states that the increase is mainly due to an increase of 24 percent in criminal cases.

The intake of appeals dropped 8 percent – from 811 in 2016 to 743 in 2017. Civil case-appeals dropped 16 percent and civil servants cases 9 percent. “This is positive because the number of cases settled in first instance for these categories has actually increased. This means that in the past year the claimant has less often seen reason to appeal the judgment in first instance,” the report states.

The Common Court presented its annual report on Wednesday in Curacao and Aruba and made it available on line for St. Maarten. The report’s theme is resilience and in the foreword the management council – consisting of Kelvin Bloyden, Hans Janssen, Grace Maduro and Franklin Hanze – makes reference to the devastation Hurricane Irma caused in St. Maarten. It also affected the court house in Philipsburg. Six months after the hurricane, per February 1, 2018, the courthouse was back to its full schedule again.

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