On 18 October 2016, the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Bermuda published a Circular Notice, No. 21 of 2016 (circular-21-of-2016-notice-of-toxic-mold-at-supreme-court-registry), announcing that the Registry building at 113 Front Street, Hamilton, has been tested, and found positive, for three strains of Toxic Mold:
- Aspergillus/Penicillium; and
These mould strains, which can be dangerous to human health, were specifically identified in the two Exhibits Vault Rooms and the Outside File Room of the Registry, which have now been classified as ‘uninhabitable’.
These three rooms store documentary exhibits deployed in Supreme Court trials, as well as Court files relating to civil, commercial, and divorce proceedings since 2010.
Remarkably, Registry staff “will not be permitted, for any reason, to access either of the two exhibit vault rooms or the outside file room“, pending full decontamination and relocation of the Registry (on a date as yet uncertain) …
While this is perfectly understandable from a health and safety perspective, it is potentially inconsistent with certain constitutional and statutory rights for any Court cases to be disrupted or substantially delayed due to the Registry’s inability to store, or retrieve, Courtroom exhibits or case files.
Hopefully, the issue can be resolved on an expedited basis, without physical injury to Registry staff or court-users …
It is unclear to what extent the current mould contamination might temporarily interfere with pending requests for access to Court records, which is separately the subject of a consultation exercise.