Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Experts discuss progress of Caribbean Court of Justice

Commonwealth justices and registrars convene to analyse the court’s first 18 months in action

A Commonwealth meeting of justices and registrars is taking place this week to analyse the achievements of the Caribbean Court of Justice in its first 18 months of operation.

Inaugurated in April 2005, the Caribbean Court of Justice is a unique judicial institution that possesses an original and an appellate jurisdiction. The court was formed after it detached itself from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which is the highest court of appeal for several Commonwealth countries and overseas territories of the United Kingdom.

The workshop, organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Law Development Section, aims to provide an opportunity for officials of regional courts and final appellate courts to observe the procedures of the Caribbean Court of Justice.

“The discussions during the meetings have shown that there is a trend of more people accepting the Caribbean Court of Justice as the final appeal court for the region,” said Cheryl Thompson-Barrow, Adviser and Head of the Law Development Section.

“Public education and awareness play a crucial role in this process. This workshop is therefore timely as it assists in raising the profile of the court.”

The first leg of the meeting was held in Jamaica from 22 to 26 January 2007. It focused on the evolution of the Court and the legal challenges resulting from its detachment from the Privy Council.

From 29 to 30 January, the meeting continued in Barbados - a signatory to both jurisdictions of the court.

The workshop will reconvene in Trinidad from 1 to 2 February, where delegates will tour the court and its library. The delegation includes legal and court officials from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa and the Economic Community of West African States.

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