Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. As the Caribbean Court of Justice’s 2021/2022 Court Term opened on Monday 4 October, the Court President, the Hon. Mr Justice Adrian Saunders issued a message which summarises the work of the Court for the 2020/2021 year and how the work of the organisation, impacts citizens of the Caribbean Community.
President Saunders noted that despite the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the CCJ continued to provide uninterrupted service to the region, holding fifty-five (55) hearings in its fully virtual courtroom. He also observed that in the past year, the first-ever case initiated by one Member State of CARICOM against another was filed in the Court’s Original Jurisdiction.
In the Original Jurisdiction, the Court decides on issues related to the Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME) relating to the freedom of movement of labour, goods, services, capital and establishment.
Apart from its judicial work, the President also highlighted some of the other noteworthy deliverables completed by the Court during the past court year. These include the finalisation of Judicial Discipline Regulations to accompany the revised Judicial Code of Conduct, which was adopted in 2020 and the implementation of a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to measure the progress of the execution of the Court’s five-year Strategic Plan.
In keeping with its strategic goal of supporting the regional justice system, the CCJ, as the executing agency for the Canadian-funded Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project, also supported the implementation of several initiatives such as business continuity plans for Courts, case flow management, court administration and the procurement of ICT equipment to enhance the delivery of justice across the region. Additionally, through a partnership with affiliates such as the CCJ Academy for Law (CAL), Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers (CAJO) and the UN’s Global Judicial Integrity Network, the Court also assisted with the rollout of legal and judicial education programmes throughout the region and beyond.
Acknowledging that despite these successes, there is still more work to be done, the President asserted that “…we shall continue, fearlessly as always, to advance the rule of law in the region; we shall always protect the rights of the people, and we shall strengthen the legal framework underpinning the Caricom Single Market and Economy.”