Friday 20 September, 2019

Payments into Court Bill passed in Senate

The Payments into Courts Bill 2018 has been passed in the Upper House.

The Bill was read a third time and passed, with amendments at 8.30 pm on Tuesday.

The Bill paves the way for payments to be made electronically into a custodial bank account of the Judiciary, and to provide for the collection of any convenience fee, transaction fee or any other fee.

In piloting the Bill in the Senate on Tuesday, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi noted that around $120 million in maintenance payments was collected by the courts in a one-year period.

The passing of the Bill means parents will no longer have to wait in line or take time off from their jobs to make the payments.

According to a practice direction on May 18 from Chief Justice Ivor Archie, the payor (the individual paying the debt) of maintenance payments is to be charged a non-refundable transaction fee for each transaction submitted.

The practice direction also laid out the schedule of fees for each transaction mode.

The fees range from 75 cents to $6 per transaction, depending on how the payor chose to make the payment.

The CourtPay system allows for payments to be made by Linx at National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) operated kiosks, in cash, or with credit cards or online.

The CourtPay system launched in April was developed by WiPay, an online payment system geared toward changing the local business landscape by affording small and medium-scale businesses a chance to play a role in the e-commerce industry.

Speaking with LoopTT from Dubai on Wednesday, WiPay CEO Aldwyn Wayne said the company is heartened by the Bill’s passage and looks forward to working with the Judiciary and other arms of Government to expand the service.

“The Payments into Court Bill which was passed in the Senate will now allow for the Court Pay System which we designed for the Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago to now make payments into the court beyond maintenance payments, which it currently does.

The Court will now be able to make and accept electronic payments for fines, fees, tickets and filing fees through this software.”

He said the same efficiency in making maintenance payments can be expected with other types of payments through the Court Pay System.  

“So, of course, if you have a ticket, if you have a fee to pay, you will now be able to pay it online or at any of the WiPay top up locations, or wherever WiPay top ups are sold.”

“We are thrilled that the Government has taken this step to allow for electronic payments to be made into the court to now be spread to all the other wings of judicial payments.”

Wayne added that he intends to take examples from the judicial system in Dubai to improve the administration of electronic payments in Trinidad and Tobago.

 

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