Recognise the Caribbean Court of Justice as Trinidad and Tobago’s final Court of Appeal

Senate - 2nd Session - 12th Republican Parliament

WHEREAS in 2001 the States of the Caribbean Community established by agreement (by treaty) the Caribbean Court of Justice (“the Court”), convinced that the Court would have a determinative role in the development of Caribbean jurisdiction steeped in the ethos of the region;

AND WHEREAS Trinidad and Tobago, having ratified without reservation the agreement establishing the Court, is bound under treaty to refer its appeals to the Court in lieu of continuing to have them heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council;

AND WHEREAS the unique and varied legal matters which arise in the Caribbean are far removed and foreign to the society, culture and habits of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, as sentiment echoed by Privy Council judges and senior British legal figures;

AND WHEREAS almost all Commonwealth States outside the Caribbean as well as four CARICOM states, have since delinked from the Privy Council, recognizing that it goes against the sovereignty of independent nations, and is therefore politically unacceptable, to have such a foreign tribunal permanently entrenched in their Constitutions as their final appellate Court;

AND WHEREAS this is an appropriate time for Trinidad and Tobago to accede to the Court in its appellate jurisdiction, so that the Country’s civil, criminal and constitutional appeals can be heard by the Court, which will also serve this Country’s democratic and developmental objectives regarding affordability, relevance and increased access to justice;

BE IT RESOLVED that this Senate agree that the Caribbean Court of Justice be recognized as the final Court of Appeal for Trinidad and Tobago and that the appropriate amendments be made to alter the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago so as to entrench the court as its final court of appeal.

(By Senator Anthony Vieira)

Private Motion by Senator Anthony Vieira

25 May 2022
Senate Debate - Day 1Hansard
6 speakersShow Speakers
1.Senator Anthony Vieira SC [Independent Senator]
2.Senator the Honourable Reginald Armour SC [Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs]
3.Senator Wade Mark [Opposition Senator]
4.Senator Hazel Thompson-Ahye [Independent Senator]
5.Senator Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing [Government Senator]
28 Jun 2022
Senate Debate - Day 2Hansard
3 speakersShow Speakers
1.Senator Dr. Maria Dillon-Remy [Independent Senator]
2.Senator the Honourable Renuka Sagramsingh-Sooklal [Minister in the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs]
3.Senator Anil Roberts [Opposition Senator]