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date: 02 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Various Caribbean countries have established the Caribbean Court of Justice, and have taken steps to ensure its viability. The Court has two jurisdictions. One of these—the Original Jurisdiction—pertains to disputes arising under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, the constituent treaty of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy. The other jurisdiction—the Appellate Jurisdiction—was intended from the outset to allow the Caribbean Court of Justice to serve as the final court of appeal for all Caribbean countries. The Appellate Jurisdiction, which forms the basis of this chapter, has been the subject of considerable debate. To date, only four Caribbean countries—Barbados, Guyana, Belize and Dominica—have entrusted their final appeals to the new court, with most former British colonies in the region retaining the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council for final appeals. What have been the main elements in the long and circuitous debate concerning the Appellate Jurisdiction of the Court? Why have some Caribbean States opted to retain appeals to the Privy Council? And what are the prospects concerning the Appellate Jurisdiction? The chapter considers these issues in light of the passage of more than a decade and a half since Caribbean States signed the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Keywords: Independence, Postcolonialism, Judicial decisions, Final Courts, Privy Council, Referendum, Caribbean

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