June 4, 2020

CCJ creating Caribbean law


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baldwin-spencer From Guyana Times

Consistent with its vision to foster a unique Caribbean jurisprudence, the[Caribbean Court of Justice] has taken another step in its journey to creating this indigenous body of law. This time it did so in the Guyanese case of Rosemarie Ramdehol v Haimwant Ramdehol [2013] 9 (AJ).

The parties concerned, formerly man and wife, were involved in a lengthy matrimonial property settlement. The High Court ordered the wife to pay to the husband an agreed sum of G$52,500,000 (US$262,500) within six months. At the expiration of the six-month period, she had not paid the money but went on to file an appeal against the High Court order requesting that the court put a hold on her requirement to pay the money until her appeal was decided.

The court granted her request to hold off on paying the money but it ordered her to pay G$8,000,000 to him within six months. Displeased with this order, she applied to the Full Bench of the Court of Appeal for an order relieving her of making any payment until her first appeal was heard. The Full Bench denied her application so she applied to the CCJ for special leave to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision.

The Court denied her application for leave. In doing so, it gave a clear indication on how Regional courts should approach the issue of the postponement of compliance with orders of the court where an appeal is pending, otherwise called a ‘stay of execution pending appeal’. It mentioned that the previous position on the issue where a court was permitted to grant a stay of execution only where the applicant satisfied the court that if he paid over money he was ordered to pay, there was no reasonable probability of him getting it back if he succeeded in a relevant appeal. However, the Court said that that ‘test is too restrictive and that a stay may also be granted if the applicant persuaded the court that without a stay of execution, he or she would be ruined and that the appeal had some prospect of success’. The CCJ’s approach is in keeping with its vision to foster a unique Caribbean jurisprudence that is reflective of the people the Court serves and is tailored to suit local circumstances.

For more on this story go tCCJo:


Related story:

Antigua prime minister wants referendum on CCJ

By Peter Richards From Caribbean360

ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer says a referendum should be held within all the countries of the Organisation of States (OECS) simultaneously so as to guide the sub-region’s approach to full membership of the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

“I am of the view that the OECS member states…in seeking to answer this question, most of the constitutions provide for the referendum, I am of the view that we should move to that position together,” said Spencer, who is also chairman of the sub-regional grouping.

“In other words, we should do it in such a way that it is referendum day on the CCJ throughout the Eastern Caribbean and we deal with it so that together we are all in this, if you try to do it singularly I believe you are going to have a problem,” he told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

The CCJ, which was established in 2001 to replace the as the region’s final court, also functions as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-member regional integration movement CARICOM.

The Court has two jurisdictions – original and appellate – and while most of the Caribbean countries are signatories to the original jurisdiction, only Barbados, Guyana and Belize have signed on as full members.

Spencer, who is seeking a third consecutive term as head of government in Antigua and Barbuda in the general election on June 12, said that by having the referendum and going together “we send a straight message right across the OECS that this is in our best interest as individual member states and as a sub region to move to adopt the CCJ as our final court…”

Spencer explained that his idea for the referendum should not be confused with a single initiative, given the fact that the referendum would have to be held in the member states.

“What I am suggesting is what would be extremely helpful is if it (referendum) is done simultaneously. In other words, we make a decision throughout the OECS that on such and such a date, referendum on the appellate jurisdiction of the CCJ will be held in each member state.

“And so you will have the discussions going right through the member states at the same time with an ultimate result on that given day, and I believe that also will sensitize the people of the sub-region that this is just not an individual matter, it is a matter for the sub region and we must do it together.

“We are seeking to cooperate and do a number of things together, we are talking about creating a single economic space, we are talking also about the economic union…(so) why not just address this question (CCJ membership) together.

“If it has to go by the way of a referendum let us do it together. Appoint a day when every island state is required to ask the people to answer that question,” Spencer told CMC.

The OECS groups the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Montserrat.

Prime Minister Spencer said that the issue of the CCJ is one that the country fully must address.

“Having said that I think it is important for me to say that is, if we were to use the mechanism that is there for us to move to the appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice, I honestly do not believe, even with all the goodwill in the world and I am a proponent of it, I support the concept of the CCJ…I honestly believe we are going to have a problem.

“The people of Antigua and Barbuda may not be supportive and so we have some work to do. We have to create the environment for the people of Antigua and Barbuda to understand that as an independent nation, as a society that should be masters of our own destiny…it become extremely important for us to be able to make our decisions at that level.”

Spencer said that it was important for the island “to cease loitering at the doorsteps of the British and the Privy Council…we ought to get out of it”.

But he acknowledged that he is a realist and that based on certain things that would have happened, Antiguans and Barbudans would not want to rush into supporting the CCJ.

“Some people would have to argue that they had to go to the Privy Council in order to get justice. I need not share that view, but I will tell you it is a very very strong view by the population right across the political divide,” he said.

Leader of the main opposition Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP), Gaston Browne, who described himself as a “hardcore integrationist” said his party in government would support the decision to replace the Privy Council with the CCJ.

“I believe that every effort should be made to ensure that we become part of the CCJ. I know generally speaking there is a lack of commitment throughout the region…our population for instance has this knee jerk reaction to justice within the Caribbean region, but I am not aware that the decisions of the CCJ that they are any worse than that of the Privy Council.

“We have a tendency to accept decisions coming from the Privy Council, but if you get a similar decision coming from the CCJ, we berate our judges.

“We (ABLP) are not going down that road. We believe our people have the competence to preside over justice and evidently that is an issue we will address, chances are we may get a clean sweep (in the elections on Thursday) which will make it far more easier and you can be assured that if we get that type of mandate from the people, certainly we will be going to the CCJ,” he told CMC


For more on this story go to: http://www.caribbean360.com/news/antigua-prime-minister-wants-oecs-referendum-on-ccj?utm_source=Caribbean360%20Newsletters&utm_campaign=caf59deda3-Vol_9_Issue_116_News6_11_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_350247989a-caf59deda3-39393477



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