CCJ welcomes St Lucia to its appellate jurisdiction


By Caribbean News Global fav

TRINIDAD / ST LUCIA – The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), inaugurated in Port of Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on 16 April 2005 and presently has a bench of seven judges presided over by CCJ president, Justice Adrian Saunders, notes that the Constitution of Saint Lucia (Amendment) Act has been assented to by the Governor General of Saint Lucia and that state has now officially acceded to the CCJ’s Appellate Jurisdiction.

The parliament of Saint Lucia on Tuesday, February 28, held up to expectations in a historic non-debate to amend the Constitution of Saint Lucia towards the accession of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). A three-fourth majority in parliament was needed. The amendment was secured by the 13 government members present in the 15-2 parliament.

“On behalf of the CCJ, I extend my sincerest congratulations to the people of Saint Lucia on this momentous occasion,” said Justice Adrian Saunders, president, Caribbean Court of Justice.

The CCJ press release continued:

“Saint Lucia now becomes the fifth CARICOM nation to take this defining step and the CCJ welcomes the opportunity to serve the citizens of that country. Statistics collated by the Court in 2022 reveal that in each Caribbean state that has acceded to the CCJ’s appellate jurisdiction, the volume of cases being heard by that country’s final court annually has at least doubled, thereby contributing to the dynamism of the country’s jurisprudence and considerably expanding access to justice for its citizenry.”

The CCJ press release attributed to Justice Adrian Saunders, president, Caribbean Court of Justice, commented: “We have no doubt that Saint Lucia too will have a similar experience.”

The CCJ has an original and appellate jurisdiction and is effectively, therefore, two courts in one. In its Original Jurisdiction, it is an international court with exclusive jurisdiction to interpret and apply the rules set out in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC) and to decide disputes arising under it. The RTC established the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). In its original jurisdiction, the CCJ is critical to the CSME and all 12 Member States which belong to the CSME (including their citizens, businesses, and governments) can access the Court’s original jurisdiction to protect their rights under the RTC.

According to the CCJ: “Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Dame Janice Pereira, and president of the Saint Lucia Bar Association, Diana Thomas Hunte, have been written to advising of the readiness of the CCJ’s Registry staff to assist Saint Lucian court officials, litigants and counsel alike in the use of the CCJ’s electronic filing and case management portals in order to facilitate access to the Court.”

The CCJ advised that it, “looks forward to serving the people of Saint Lucia as we do all the states and people of the Caribbean Community and in particular, those of Guyana, Barbados, Belize and the Commonwealth of Dominica, whose final appeals we hear.”

The CCJ is the final court of appeal for criminal and civil matters for those countries in the Caribbean that alter their national Constitutions to enable the CCJ to perform that role, in its appellate jurisdiction, these being Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana and Saint Lucia.

The CCJ in welcoming Saint Lucia, “looks forward to more CARICOM states accessing the CCJ’s appellate jurisdiction in the future.”


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