Earlier this afternoon, the Lower House of the Jamaican Parliament secured the favorable majority vote required to have that country access the Caribbean Court of Justice’s (CCJ) Appellate Jurisdiction.
The three bills laid before the House of Representatives will now proceed to the Senate.
They are: an Act to Amend the Judicature (Appellate Jurisdiction) Act, an Act to Amend the Constitution of Jamaica and an Act to make provisions for the implementation of the agreement establishing the CCJ.
This development comes on the heels of the Court’s 10th anniversary celebrations on April 16th, 2015 and just two months after the Commonwealth of Dominica formally celebrated its accession to the Court’s Appellate Jurisdiction.
Barbados, Guyana and Belize also enjoy full access to the Court’s judicial services.
Jamaica is now further on the path to become the fifth territory to have the CCJ as its final court of appeal. Jamaica already utilizes the original jurisdiction where the CCJ is the guardian of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and the several rights which it guarantees the citizens of the region.
For example, the Jamaican matter Shanique Myrie v Barbados was heard by the CCJ in its original jurisdiction within seven months from the first hearing in Jamaica to final judgment in October 2013. This matter highlighted issues resulting from rights outlined in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. Judges heard the case in Jamaica during the proceedings as has been done in other territories – most recently in Belize in May 2015. In addition, there was the use of technology in the case, where testimony was given in Jamaica while the judges sat in Trinidad and Tobago using videoconferencing.
The CCJ also supports the reform efforts of the Jamaican legal system as one of its mandates to improve the performance of judiciaries in the region. The Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening Project, known as JURIST, is funded by the Government of Canada and is implemented by the CCJ. (PR)