Legal affairs minister Ian Douglas

Dominica’s Legal Affairs Minister, Ian Douglas, has applauded the Dominican populace for the level of support shown thus far towards implementing the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

The CCJ was established in 2001, to replace the London-based Privy Council as the region’s highest court.

The Government of Dominica, through its Ministry of Legal affairs, has over the past months been hosting sensitization meetings and other public awareness programs across the country with a view to educate the public on important aspects about the CCJ.

Minister Douglas told parliament earlier this week that he is encouraged by the overwhelming support of nationals towards the appellate court.

“I would really like to commend the Dominican populace for the support they have shown and given towards the implementation of the appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice. The support has been tremendous around the country. Every single community that we went to Madame Speaker, people asked questions to educate themselves,” he said.

Douglas noted that “generally the population of Dominica is in agreement that we must move forward and implement the Caribbean Court of Justice in all its forms.”

The Caribbean Court of Justice has been designed to be more than a court of last resort for Member States of the Caribbean Community.

Information from the CARICOM Community Secretariat indicates that “In addition to replacing the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the CCJ will be vested with an original jurisdiction in respect of the interpretation and application of the Treaty Establishing the Caribbean Community”.

The Secretariat has also indicated that “In effect, the CCJ would exercise both an appellate and an original jurisdiction”.

The regional body notes further that “In the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, the CCJ will consider and determine appeals in both civil and criminal matters from common law courts within the jurisdictions of Member states of the Community and which are parties to the Agreement Establishing the CCJ.”

In the discharge of its appellate jurisdiction, the CCJ will be the highest municipal court in the region.