The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCCJ) celebrated its 10th anniversary last Thursday, with only four CARICOM member states having acceded to its appellate jurisdiction.
President of the Court Sir Dennis Byron in several media interviews where the CCJ is based said he would like to see all CARICOM states, in addition to having embraced its original jurisdiction, also make the CCJ their final civil and criminal appellate court.
In September 2009 when the London-based Privy Council was sending signals that Caribbean nations should rely less on the British Court and embrace their own, only two had at the time acceded to the CCJ’s appellate jurisdiction- Barbados and Guyana.
One British Law Lord questioned whether some Privy Council cases really needed to be heard by a panel of Britain’s most senior judges.
Sir Dennis said the Court has through its judgments, has made a very positive impact.
He appealed recently for the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) of St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines to emulate Dominica’s recent example and make the CCJ their final court of appeal.
Sir Dennis hopes that Trinidad and Tobago will soon join the other Caribbean countries and make the CCJ its final court of appeal.
Former OECS Bar Association President Tapley Seaton continues to be a strong supporter of the CCJ. He described the CCJ as an evolving court that has already demonstrated a capacity for excellent judgments.