Caribbean Court of Justice - Breaking New Ground
By Deidre S. Powell
Paper Presented in Berlin, Germany - The Law and Society Association 2007
The Caribbean Court of Justice is the newest and most unconventional international judicial institution in the world to date. Although its membership is confined to fourteen of the smallest islands of the world, it is the first to have both an appellate jurisdiction in relation to civil and criminal law of member states and an original jurisdiction in relation to international law.
Another distinctive feature of the Court is the process for the selection of its judges. An independent body known as the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission, which is independent of the political system of the Member States, appoints the judges of the Court. This is the first time that a judicial appointment commission has been used in the international courts.
Such a radical deviation from the international custom has its roots in the general scepticism of the people of the region regarding the potential effectiveness of the court and the need to ensure that the court is not subjected to the manipulation of the political powers that be.
This paper will consequently highlight the unique nature of the court, with a brief look at how it differs from the established European Court of Justice. The aim is to provide an overview of the similarities and differences between the two judicial systems.