Trinidad and Tobago to adopt CCJ in criminal cases

first_img Share Prime Minister Kamla Persad-BissessarPORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — In a statement to parliament on Wednesday, Trinidad and Tobago prime minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, said her government would submit legislation to parliament to abolish appeals to the London-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the final court of appeal for many former and current British territories in the Caribbean. Appeals in criminal cases will now be heard by the Port of Spain-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the final court of appeal for just three Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries – Barbados, Belize and Guyana.The jurisdiction of the Privy Council in criminal appeals is “a matter of grave concern”, Persad-Bissessar told parliament, adding that it “affects the dispensation of criminal justice at a time of high crime in our country”.“The situation has been complicated by the issue of the death penalty on which the Privy Council, reflecting contemporary English mores and jurisprudence, has been rigorous in upholding Caribbean appeals in death sentence cases,” she said.The CCJ has two jurisdictions: an original and an appellate jurisdiction. In its original jurisdiction, it interprets and applies the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which established CARICOM and is an international court with compulsory and exclusive jurisdiction in interpreting the treaty.In its appellate jurisdiction, the CCJ hears appeals in both civil and criminal matters from those member states — Barbados, Belize, and Guyana — that have ceased to allow appeals to the Privy Council.Trinidad will, however, stop short of abandoning the Privy Council in all matters and will retain it as the final court of appeal in civil and commercial cases.Persad-Bissessar said that Trinidad and Tobago had maintained its policy of the Privy Council being its final appellate court, as it saw no good or plausible reason in 2005 to replace it with the CCJ until that court had established over time, the body and quality of its jurisprudence. “Consistent with our approach of caution and gradualism, this country has not rushed to surrender the jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council but has rather kept the issue under constant review,” she said.She acknowledged that the Privy Council “has an international reputation as being one of the finest commercial and civil law courts in the world.” “It inspires confidence in foreign investors and its retention in this regard is conducive to an investor-friendly climate at a time when the international economic order is changing and Trinidad and Tobago is attempting to woo foreign investment from the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries,” she said.The legislation to adopt the CCJ will require a special majority and Persad-Bissessar said the government looked forward to bipartisan support for this “historic withdrawal” from the criminal jurisdiction of the Privy Council. By Caribbean News Now contributor 27 Views   no discussions Tweet Sharing is caring!center_img NewsRegional Trinidad and Tobago to adopt CCJ in criminal cases by: – April 27, 2012 Share Sharelast_img

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