CCJ to hear matter involving Caricom countries in October

Thursday, August 01, 2019

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) —The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will sit in October to hear a request for an advisory opinion by the Caribbean Community (Caricom).

The CCJ, which was established in 2003, replacing the London-based Privy Council as the region's final court for some states, also acts as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-member regional integration grouping.

President of the court, Justice Adrian Saunders, in the case management of the matter in which attorneys representing Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, St Kitts-Nevis, and Jamaica, as well as the Guyana-based Caricom Secretariat, made appearances, said that the matter will be heard on October 22-23.

The CCJ is hearing a request for an advisory opinion by Caricom, pursuant to Article 212 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas which states, “the Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to deliver advisory opinions concerning the interpretation and application of the treaty”, and that “advisory opinions shall be delivered only at the request of member states parties to a dispute or the community”.

In its submissions, Grenada said it would like to know when a state has in the past opted out of a decision, nationals of that state nevertheless enjoyed the benefits of the decision adopted by Caricom.

During the case management hearing on Tuesday, Antigua and Barbuda indicated it was not in a position” at this stage” to provide the court with information on whether nationals from that island had also benefited from a similar situation.

“What we will do is to ask all of the parties having such information to share that information by filing the same within the next three weeks,” Justice Saunders said.

He said all states which have not filed written submissions but are desirous of doing so must submit them by August 20, with reply submissions being received by September 10.

“The date for the hearing of oral submissions would be Tuesday, October 22, and Wednesday October 23, and each member state representative will speak for no more than 45 minutes,” Justice Saunders. He added that the orders of the court will be served on all Caricom member states.

The Caricom Secretariat will also be allowed 45 minutes.

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