History and Jurisdiction of the Court

Jamaican Gleaner editorial

The idea of a final Caribbean court has been long in the making. It is said that as far back as 1901, an editorial in the Jamaican Gleaner called for an indigenous Caribbean final appeal court.

Meeting of West Indian Governors

In 1947, a Meeting of West Indian Governors echoed these calls, arguing that the region needed a  court that better understood its social realities.

Resolution to establish a final Caribbean appellate court

In 1970, at the Sixth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, a Resolution to establish a final appellate court for the Caribbean was tabled. A press release from the Meeting stated “The Conference discussed the idea for the establishment of a Regional Court of Appeal. A general but not unanimous view was expressed that it was desirable that Commonwealth Caribbean countries should move towards the termination of appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.”

Agreement to establish a “Caribbean Court of Appeal’

In 1989, at the Eighth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government, the Heads of Government agreed in principle to establish a ‘Caribbean Court of Appeal’ following a proposal by Trinidad and Tobago.

Time for Action Report

In 1992, the West Indian Commission chaired by Sir Shridath Ramphal, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth presented its Time for Action Report which made a very compelling case for a regional final court. The Report identified the need for such a court within the process of regional integration itself, noting that “the case for the CARICOM Supreme Court, with both a general appellate jurisdiction and an original regional one, is now overwhelming- indeed it is fundamental to the process of integration itself.

Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice approved

By 1999, Heads of Government of CARICOM approved the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice and Trinidad and Tobago announced plans to house the Court in Port of Spain.

Signing of the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice

On 14 February 2001, the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice was signed by 10 CARICOM Member States: Antigua & Barbuda; Barbados; Belize; Grenada; Guyana; Jamaica; St. Kitts & Nevis; St. Lucia; Suriname; and Trinidad & Tobago. Two years later, on 15 February 2003, Dominica and St. Vincent & The Grenadines, signed the agreement, bringing the total number of signatories to 12.

First meeting of the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission

Between 21-22 August 2003, the first meeting of the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission (RJLSC) was held.

First CCJ President sworn-in

On 18 August 2004, the Right Honourable Mr Justice Michael de la Bastide was sworn in as the first President of the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Inauguration of the CCJ

On 16 April 2005, the Caribbean Court of Justice was officially inaugurated in a ceremony at Queen’s Hall, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

First appeal filed at the Court

On 19 August 2005, the first appeal was filed at the Court.