PHILIPSBURG–On April 5, the government of St. Maarten declared a state of emergency to enable the fight against the coronavirus. As of March 31, already, measures had been implemented by the government that significantly impeded free travel across the island.
As a result of the state of emergency, the registry of the Court of First Instance of St. Maarten is no longer operational in a physical sense.
The closure of the registry means that no more documents can be submitted in person, nor can payments of court fees be made in cash or by cheque. However, documents can still be submitted digitally at email email@example.com
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. The court fees (“griffierechten en zegels”) owed can be paid through telebanking. Attached to the document a copy of the wire transfer needs to be sent digitally by e-mail.
In light of the state of emergency it was decided that the court’s registry remains open digitally for all procedures, especially to ensure that parties can file urgent proceedings during this special period.
As of March 31, legal cases that must be filed within a certain period can be filed up to four weeks after the reopening of the physical registry and are then considered to be filed in time.
This decision concerns proceedings that are or will be brought before the Court of First Instance and at the special colleges that sit in St. Maarten. This decision also applies to all appeal procedures against decisions of the Court of First Instance and the special judicial tribunals.
If necessary, the Board of the Joint Court can extend the period of four weeks at a later date. Although digital submission is encouraged, the judge will not investigate whether it was possible for parties to file digitally. The four-week period will be valid across the board, also for people who could have submitted documents digitally.