CCJ welcomes St Lucia as full member of regional court

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President of the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Justice Adrian Saunders, Tuesday welcomed St Lucia as a full member of the regional court that was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council as the Caribbean’s final court.

In a statement, Justice Saunders said that the CCJ, which has both an Original and Appellate jurisdiction, had taken note that the Constitution of St Lucia (Amendment) Act had been assented to by the Governor General, Errol Charles.

He said as a result, St Lucia has “now officially acceded to the CCJ’s Appellate Jurisdiction” extending his “sincerest congratulations to the people of St Lucia on this momentous occasion”.

St Lucia now becomes the fifth Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country, joining Barbados, Dominica, Belize and Guyana, in becoming a full member of the CCJ, which also functions as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governments the 15-member regional integration grouping.

While most of the CARICOM countries are signatories to the CCJ’s Original jurisdiction, Trinidad and Tobago, where the CCJ is headquartered is among regional countries not full members of the court.

Justice Saunders said 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.

“We have no doubt that St Lucia too will have a similar experience,” he added.

He said that the Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Dame Janice Pereira, and the 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 St 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 looks forward to serving the people of St 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,” Justice Saunders said, adding “the CCJ looks forward to more CARICOM states accessing the CCJ’s Appellate Jurisdiction in the future”.

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