QUESTION: Dear Legal Wiz,
I visited the Sutton Street [Resident] Court and a man took J$3,000 in order to serve a summons on a businessman who I found it hard to serve as he was never at workplace in Kingston. I had to leave the island and the man called, after he picked up the new summons to reissue for me, to tell me that he needed J$13,000.00 more. He told me that he needed the money to cover hunting down the businessman. I find this hard to believe because when this man took my money, he told me that he knew where to find him, and where he lived as they were friends. He told me the businessman lives in the hills of Kingston and Saint Andrew.
Is this real? Does the Court really charge J$16,000.00 to serve on someone in the Kingston hills? That is almost $200 dollars in the United States. I am also thinking that if he doesn’t find him where he said he would, and the man does not appear I could loose.
Darren Cross (not real name)
RESPONSE: Dear Darren,
The Resident Magistrate Court fees are listed on documents put up around the Court Room. For the area in question the fee is more than $1,000 but definitely not more than $2,000. When there is a ruling in your favour, this sum is attached and must be paid back by the person you bring to Court.
A summons can be served by any adult with a few exceptions such as a policeman. Bear in mind though that the money you pay to anyone who is not employed to the Court is never recovered through the Court.
It does not seem as though the man who spoke with you actually works at the Court office. There are a several persons who approach members of the public on the Court compound, who offer assistance to do several tasks for a fee. Members of the public are usually warned by the Court staff that if they contract the services of these persons, they do so at their own risk. One reason being that there is no control over the fees they charge and/or there is no guarantee to their efficiency.
Some of them are reliable, and the fees they charge are generally accepted especially by persons who insist on not using the Court bailiff for numerous reasons. On the other hand some of them are doing a disservice in the fees they charge and the poor service they offer, which makes it bad for other persons.
In your case, the fee is exaggerated, especially as the man you contracted told you he already knew where to find the man to be served. Please realize that although you took the risk to contract with this person, he has not acted fairly towards you, but this is not the norm for the Justice System of Jamaica.
The challenge you will have is where the Court bailiffs make several trips and do not find the businessman. At that point however, you should consider “alternative methods of service” available through the Court.
You have the option to hire someone to track down the businessman, to make sure he can be found, and confirm where he is likely to be. Either way, please take back your summons, and the monies you already paid.
Our team can assist in any decision you make, but for a fee which is not likely to be J$16,000.00.
——————————ON THE SUPREME COURT——————————————–
QUESTION: Dear Legal Wiz,
We are a law firm operating out of West Virginia, USA. I am a practicing attorney in West Virginia, USA, and I am trying to locate a telephone number for the Supreme Court in Jamaica. We have tried everything. Do you have a number for that entity that I could have? Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
RESPONSE: Dear West Virginia Law Firm,
Please see details on the address and phone number of the Supreme court below:
Supreme Court of Jamaica,
East King Street