History of the CCJ At the Sixth Heads of Government Conference of Commonwealth Caribbean countries, the Jamaican delegation made a proposal for the establishment of a Regional Court of Appeal in substitution for the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. This proposal urged the establishment of a Committee of Attorneys- General to consider the question of establishing a final appellate court in the Caribbean.(Occurred in Jamaica, April 1970)
History of the CCJ (cont’d) The Attorneys-General met and put forward their Draft Report for study by, and discussion with, The Organization of Commonwealth Caribbean Bar Associations (OCCBA). (Occurred in Barbados, August 1970 and Guyana, March 1971)
History of the CCJ (cont’d) The OCCBA agreed with the replacement of the Judicial Committee, but recommended that the CCJ be vested with an original jurisdiction in respect of the interpretation and application of the Treaty Establishing the CARICOM. (Occurred in June, 1972)
History of the CCJ (cont’d) At the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Heads of Government of CARICOM, the Heads of Government agreed to the establishment of the Court. (Occurred in July, 1989) The then Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Basdeo Panday announced the identification of a site in Trinidad to house the CCJ. The Heads of Government approved and established a Preparatory Committee to develop and implement public education within CARICOM and to make appropriate arrangements for the inauguration of the CCJ. (Occurred in July, 1999)
History of the CCJ (cont’d) The Agreement Establishing the CCJ was signed by the following CARICOM member states: Antigua and BarbudaBarbados BelizeGrenada GuyanaJamaica St. Kitts & NevisSt. Lucia SurinameTrinidad and Tobago (Occurred on 14 th February, 2001.)
History of the CCJ (cont’d) Two further states, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, signed the agreement, bringing the total number of signatories to 12. (Occurred on 15 th February, 2003.) The Honourable Mr. Justice Michael de la Bastide of Trinidad and Tobago was sworn in as the first President of the CCJ. (Occurred on 18 th August, 2004.)
History of the CCJ (cont’d) The inauguration of the CCJ was held at Queen’s Hall, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, better known as the seat of the Court. (Occurred on 16 th April, 2005.)
Role of the CCJ The CCJ exercises both an appellate and an original jurisdiction. In the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, the CCJ will consider and determine appeals in both civil and criminal matters from common law courts within jurisdictions of Member states of CARICOM and which are parties to the Agreement Establishing the CCJ. Also in the discharge of this exercise, the CCJ will be the highest municipal court in the Caribbean region.
Role of the CCJ (cont’d) In the exercise of its original jurisdiction, the CCJ will be discharging the functions of an international tribunal applying rules of international law in respect of the interpretation and application of the Treaty.
Main Achievements of the CCJ The CCJ has been responsive to many challenges and had the ability to have heard 18 cases under its original jurisdiction and 19 cases under its appellate jurisdiction. It has provided high quality justice for our diverse communities. It has fostered regional integration by protecting and promoting the rule of law of the Caribbean.
Glossary Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is one of the highest courts in the United Kingdom to which appeals are made for several independent Commonwealth countries and British Crown dependencies. It is often referred to as the Privy Council. The appellate court/jurisdiction recognizes appeals and have the power to review and change the decisions of a lower court.
Glossary (cont’d) An original jurisdiction is the power or authority to interpret and apply the law. The international tribunal is a court that has authority, but only in a specific area.
Review Questions What was the proposal made by the Jamaican delegation a t the Sixth Heads of Government Conference of Commonwealth Caribbean countries ? Where is the CCJ situated? Name five (5) CARICOM member states that signed the Agreement Establishing the CCJ. State one (1) role of the original jurisdiction of the CCJ.