NewsThe CCJ Has the Protection of Financial Independence- Unlike other Courts

St. Lucia News OnlineJuly 1, 202226105 min

The President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Justice Adrian Saunders, says the CCJ provides Value for Money for nations subscribing to its services – and in Saint Lucia’s case, it’s an asset worth every cent of the US $2.1 million it has invested.

Explaining how the CCJ’s operations have been funded, Justice Adrian Saunders says member-states paid “according to the size of their economies” into an independent US $100 million Trust financed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and individual Caribbean Community (CARICOM) governments.

The fund, which started with US$100 million, is in the hands of an independent board entrusted to invest the US$100 with the returns being used to fund the annual budget of the court. This means that, unlike most Courts, the CCJ does not look to any government to fund its operational budget. The returns of the Fund have been averaging between 5-6% per annum.

Saunders describes the CCJ’s unique mechanism as “the envy of all international courts,” because “it strengthens the court’s financial independence and insulates it from the possibility of political pressure being exerted …”

He also said the CCJ would be a useful asset to Saint Lucia because of the relatively lower cost of access to justice when compared to the Privy Council. He provided the data, which indicated the impact of the high cost of access to the Privy Council. Referring to Saint Lucia, he said only 17 cases were heard by the Privy Council in London, over a period of 16 years, amounting to a case per year.

He questioned the logic of Caribbean citizens paying to seek justice across the Atlantic when the CCJ is right on their doorstep.

Saunders questioned the underutilization of Saint Lucia’s initial investment in the Trust Fund: “What’s the logic of investing US $2.1 million in an asset, only to make very little use of it — especially when the asset is functioning well — and there is no demonstrable difference in quality between the use and value you derive from that asset and that which is to be had from the alternative?”

The CCJ President and a team of judges and officials visited the island in January to update and inform parliamentarians, judges, lawyers, and court officials how the court operates and why it will be in both the economic and justice interests of Saint Lucia and Saint Lucians, when the island finally opts out of the British Privy Council and makes the CCJ its final appellate court.

CCJ officials have been continuing to liaise with local legal and judicial officers regarding the information needed to prepare Saint Lucia for the date when it’ll make that final break with one of the last vestiges of colonialism in the Caribbean.

St. Lucia News Online

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