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The Caribbean Court of Justice was established on February 14, 2001 as a regional judicial tribunal. The Caribbean Court of Justice is intended to replace the Privy Council as the final court of appeal for all the member nations. The president of the CCJ is The Right Honourable Mr. Justice Michael de la Bastide.

The Caribbean Court of Justice has jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases in the region. The CCJ has been very controversial even among the Caribbean legal community. Opponents of the Court have argued that the CCJ, because it is comprised of local justices will be more biased in the decision-making process than the Privy Council. Advocates argue that the Privy Council Law Lords are far too removed from the social realities of Jamaica to understand the complexities underlying our legal system. Most significant on the minds of Jamaicans arguing for a local court of appeal is the Pratt & Morgan v. the Attorney General of Jamaica decision where the Privy Council commuted a death sentence to life on the grounds that it would be cruel and inhumane to execute a man after he had spent more than five years on death row.

The CCJ consists of jurists drawn from the islands of the British Caribbean. While the implementation of the Court has been completed and it has even began to hear cases, there is some question about its jurisdiction and In the 2005 decision Independent Jamaica Council for Human Rights (1998) Ltd. & others v. Syringa Marshall Burnett and the Attorney General of Jamaica, the Privy Council Board held that the Caribbean Court of Justice Act passed in Jamaica in 2004 and the Judicature (Appellate Jurisdication) (Amendment) Act 2004 which sought to eliminate the Privy Council as the final court of appeal in Jamaica were both void for unconstitutionality.

 

 

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