The CCJ: from concept to reality

The chronology below traces the history and tells the story of the Caribbean Court of Justice: from concept to reality. Click on each title to learn more.
 
 

Concept To Reality

1901 – Editorial in the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper

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Editorial in the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper.

1970 – At the Sixth Meeting of the Heads of Government conference of Commonwealth Caribbean Countries, the Jamaican delegation tabled a proposal for the establishment of a Regional Court of Appeal

“The Conference discussed the idea for the establishment of a Regional Court of Appeal. A general but not unanimous view was expressed that it was desirable that Commonwealth Caribbean countries should move towards the termination of appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.”

Press Release No. 16/1970 of the Commonwealth Caribbean Regional Secretariat on the conclusion of the Sixth Meeting of the Heads of Government conference of Commonwealth Caribbean Countries. (April 1970)

1970 – 1971 – Meeting of the Committee of Attorneys-General and issuance of draft report on the Establishment of a Regional Court of Appeal

“The Resolution which was tabled at the Sixth Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in Kingston in 1970, urged the establishment of a Committee of Attorneys-General to consider the question of establishing a final appellate Court in the Caribbean…the Attorneys-General met in Barbados in August 1970 and in Guyana in March 1971. They put forward their Draft Report for study by, and discussion with, the Organization of Commonwealth Caribbean Bar Associations (OCCBA)…”

“The Caribbean Court of Justice: The History and Analysis of the Debate”, The Hon. Mr. Justice Hugh Rawlins (2000)

1972 – Report of the Representative Committee of the Organization of the Commonwealth Caribbean Bar Associations on the Establishment of a Caribbean Court of Appeal In Substitution for the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council

Paragraph 104:

“There is wide agreement that a Regional Court of Appeal should be a third tier court, replacing and assuming the jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee but not displacing the present territorial courts of appeal.”

Paragraph 109:

“The Committee recommends, however, that an original jurisdiction be vested in the court in respect of matters referred to it by agreement between Caribbean States…on such matters as interpretation of the Agreement.”

Report of the Representative Committee of the Organization of the Commonwealth Caribbean Bar Associations on the Establishment of a Caribbean Court of Appeal In Substitution for the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. (June 1972)

1989 – The Heads of Government agree to the establishment of the Court at the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community

The Heads of Government … agreed to the establishment of a regional Judicial Service Commission which would be responsible for the appointment of judges of the Court, other than the President of the Court, and looked forward to the early completion of the draft Inter-Governmental Agreement to establish the court.

Communiqué issued at the conclusion of the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (July 1989)

1992 – Time for Action Report of the West Indian Commission makes recommendations for the establishment of a Caribbean Supreme Court

“We believe a Caribbean Supreme Court manned by distinguished West Indian jurists and in which litigants have confidence, is likely to attract a larger number of appeals from countries of the Region than the Privy Council now does. Its knowledge and understanding of regional problems, language, and culture, coupled with its identification with the very ethos of the Caribbean Community…The importance of these attributes in the judicial law-making process is not to be overlooked or underestimated”

Overview of the Report of the West Indian Commission, Time for Action
West Indian Commission, (1992)

1999 – Trinidad and Tobago announced its plans to house the CCJ in Port of Spain, and the Heads of Government approved the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice

Prime Minister Panday announced that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago had identified a site to house the Court which is expected to become operational in the near future.
(…)
Heads of Government approved the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice. They mandated the establishment of a Preparatory Committee comprising the Attorneys General of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago, assisted by Chief Parliamentary Counsels and Supreme Court Registrars, and representatives of the Council of Legal Education and the CARICOM Secretariat. The Preparatory Committee is charged with the responsibility of developing and implementing a programme of public education within the Caribbean Community, and making appropriate arrangements for the inauguration of the Caribbean Court of Justice prior to the establishment of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.

Communiqué issued at the conclusion of the Twentieth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (July 1999)

18th August 2004 – The Right Honourable Mr. Justice Michael de la Bastide is sworn in as the first President of the Caribbean Court of Justice

First CCj President

18th August 2004 – The Right Honourable Mr. Justice Michael de la Bastide is sworn in as the first President of the Caribbean Court of Justice

16th April 2005 – The inauguration of the CCJ was held at Queen’s Hall, in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, the Seat of the Court.

Dr Edwin Carrington addresses the assembly 16th April 2005 – The inauguration of the CCJ was held at Queen’s Hall, in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, the Seat of the Court.