Guyana welcomes St Lucia joining CCJ as final appeal court

Last Updated on Tuesday, 9 May 2023, 23:20 by Denis Chabrol

CCJ President Adrian Saunders .

Guyana’s Attorney General Anil Nandlall on Tuesday welcomed St Lucia’s decision to join the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as that island’s final appeal court for civil and criminal cases.

“The government and people of St Lucia must be commended for this important step. It augurs well for Caribbean jurisprudence and it augurs well for the integration movement in the region,” Mr Nandlall said on ‘Issues In The News’.

St Lucia now joins Guyana, Barbados, Belize and Dominica in acceding to the Trinidad-headquartered CCJ’s Appellate jurisdiction. All member-nations of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) Single Market are, however, required to settle trade disputes at the CCJ.

CCJ President, Justice Adrian Saunders hoped that more Caribbean nations would join the regional apex court. “The CCJ looks forward to more CARICOM states accessing the CCJ’s Appellate Jurisdiction in the future,” he said.

He noted that the Constitution of Saint Lucia (Amendment) Act has been assented to by the Governor General of Saint Lucia and that state has now officially acceded to the CCJ’s Appellate Jurisdiction. “On behalf of the CCJ, I extend my sincerest congratulations to the people of Saint Lucia on this momentous occasion,” he said.

Saint Lucia now becomes the fifth CARICOM nation to take this defining step and the CCJ welcomes the opportunity to serve the citizens of that country.

Justice Saunders said figures show that the regional court has been delivering and expanding quality justice to people. “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 Saint Lucia too will have a similar experience,” he said.

He said the Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Dame Janice Pereira, and the President of the Saint Lucia Bar Association, Ms Diana Thomas Hunte, have been written to advising of the readiness of the CCJ’s Registry staff to assist Saint 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.

Justice Saunders said the CCJ looks forward to serving the people of Saint Lucia as it does all the states and people of the Caribbean Community and in particular, those whose final appeals it hears.