PHILIPSBURG (PARLIAMENT/Independent Faction) – Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Leona Marlin-Romeo is requesting a meeting to discuss a proposal prepared by attorney Reynold Groeneveldt to introduce a Small Claims Court for Sint Maarten according to article 862 of the Code of Civil Procedures.
The MP is supporting this initiative as it allows claims up to ANG. 5000 to be handled by the Small Claims Court which is a substantial financial relief for the people of Sint Maarten.
Why a Small Claims Court
“In every community there are persons who have claims for relatively small amounts of money. These claims remain uncollected or unresolved, mainly because these cases are not brought before the regular court system for various reasons.
“Some reasons are the court entry fees and marshal fee involved with filing a regular court case. Although there is no legal requirement that one must be represented by an attorney, the complexity of the regulations related to filing and the procedural guidelines for handling court cases makes it absolutely advisable to contract lawyers to represent parties in court proceeding.
“The attorney fees act as another obstacle for a person who wished to file a claim against a defendant for instance for an amount of Naf. 1.000,- The claimant is usually not able to pay an attorney besides the regular fees to file a claim for such an amount.
“In other words it is too expensive for the claimant to engage an attorney for such a small claim and it is not attractive and economically not feasible for the attorney to accept a case to recover such a small amount of money. As a result, these types of small claims remain unresolved.
“The amounts in question are relatively small, but for the claimant, these amounts are not considered small but are very significant for the claimant. It must be concluded that the regular court system as well as the attorney do not provide the necessary service to these potential clients.
“Allowing these types of monetary and other disputes to remain unresolved in our community is undesirable as these could lead to much frustration and even persons taking the law into their own hands. For these and other reasons we believe that it absolutely necessary and justified to establish a Small Claims Court in order to resolve in an efficient manner such disputes,” MP Leona Marlin-Romeo said on Monday.
The people of Sint Maarten will be able to file claims such as, breaches of written and verbal contracts, return of down payments, return of payments for defective merchandise or faulty workmanship, damages to property and personal injury etc.
MP Leona Marlin-Romeo is hoping to get the support of all 15 members of Parliament to establish the Small Claims Court of Sint Maarten.