Is the Establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice a Sound Move for Caricom? If so, Why Has It Not Been Adopted by More Caricom States

Topics: Caribbean Community, Law, Judge Pages: 5 (1800 words) Published: November 1, 2011
The question must be asked firstly, not what if the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice is a sound move but what exactly is the Caribbean Court of Justice. As many perceive the CCJ as it is commonly referred to, would be a replacement to the previous Privy Council; which was and still is in some Caribbean states the last court of appeal. The Privy Council is considered to be one of the oldest institutions of government. “It has many roles which include giving advice on the exercise of prerogative, (A Prerogative is an exclusive legal right given from a government or state and invested in an individual or group, the content of which is separate from the body of rights enjoyed under the general law of the normative state) powers and certain functions assigned to the Queen and Council by the Act of Parliament.”1 The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council also has a major role to play, as it is the highest and final court of appeal in the United Kingdom, it has overseas territories and Crown dependencies, as well as in the Commonwealth countries. This is expected because these territories and countries were once ruled by the British, before they became independent. Therefore, if they had any decentralization (Decentralization is the policy of delegating decision-making authority down to the lower levels in an organization) issues the Privy Council was the court used to deal with these issues As years past, these territories have become independent and they have developed their own Government and Judicial institutions. However, they still turned to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council to deal with certain cases which were beyond their calling because they did not have a final court of appeal. The Caribbean Community has come together and attempted to change this by making a proposal to set up a final court of appeal within the region. The Caribbean Court of Justice is projected to be more than the final court of appeal. There will also be an original jurisdiction (original jurisdiction of a court is the right to hear a case for the first time without going through a lower level court) in respect of the interpretation and application of the Treaty Establishing the Caribbean Community; which was created in 2003 under the 2001 Revised Treaty of Chaguaramus, The Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice and the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). “The CCJ will exercise both an appellate (Appellate jurisdiction is the power of a court to review decisions and change outcomes of decisions of lower courts) and an original jurisdiction”2. The CCJ will be a municipal court of last resort as well as an international court with compulsory and exclusive jurisdiction in respect to interpretation and application of the Treaty. The aim of the CCJ is “to provide the Caribbean Community with an accessible, fair, efficient, innovative and an impartial judicial system built to be reflective of the history, values and traditions of the Caribbean whilst maintaining an inspirational, independent institution which is worthy of emulation by the regional courts and the trust and confidence of the people”3.

As was stated earlier, the main role of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council was to be the court of last resort for any issues which the Caribbean Community encountered. However, the Caribbean Court of Justice will not only provide a court of last resort but also an original jurisdiction. This shows that the CCJ will not simply be providing the service which the Privy Council did but it is designed to do much more service to the Caribbean Community. According to the aim of the CCJ, having this regional final court of appeal is a more accessible system because it is located within the region and therefore it would be more cost effective. Added to that the efficiency levels would increase significantly in that the loaded dockets would be eased since cases of relevance would no longer need to be...
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