NewsCCJ President Sees Saint Lucia’s Decision As Encouraging to other OECS and CARICOM Nations

St. Lucia News OnlineJuly 4, 202213754 min

The President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Justice Adrian Saunders, is pleased that Saint Lucia will be the next CARICOM member-state to give up the British Privy Council as its highest Court of Appeal – and hopes Saint Lucia’s accession to the CCJ will encourage other member-states to follow suit.

Justice Saunders, who addressed the nation’s parliamentarians, court officials and lawyers on January 27, says the CCJ “has been following with tremendous interest and pleasure,” recent related statements made by Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre.

He said since “the momentous step” by Saint Lucia (to be next to join the CCJ’s Appellate Jurisdiction) is one that “naturally impacts the CCJ”; his mission here, along with other judges and court officials, was “to share information about its operations that are pertinent about its decision making.”

The CCJ President said, while issues like strengthening local courts are political matters, it will be the role of the island’s legislators to make the necessary future moves legally and constitutionally.

He noted, though, that Saint Lucia had ratified the CCJ’s Original Jurisdiction “without any reservations”, it had two consequences:
“First, the island became an automatic part of the original jurisdiction,” on matters dealing with the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, and “secondly, it also solemnly agreed to have its final appeals heard by the CCJ.”

“By agreeing to join the CCJ’s Appellate Jurisdiction,” Justice Saunders said, “Saint Lucia is obeying the said Treaty ‘in good faith’, which falls into compliance with the bedrock principle that undergirds all treaties — that of mutual and common trust among all sovereign states.”

The CCJ President also sees Saint Lucia’s move as “a logical forward progression in constitutional maturation of a Commonwealth Caribbean state.”

The Saint Lucia decision to dispense with the Privy Council will make the island the fifth CCJ member within CARICOM to do so, after Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana.

Justice Saunders notes that Saint Lucia “is the most populous state in the OECS, hosting both the OECS Secretariat and the Headquarters of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC)…”

He also says its accession to the CCJ’s Appellate Jurisdiction “will set a powerful example to the remainder of CARICOM – and in particular, other OECS member-states.”

St. Lucia News Online

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