October 02, 2009

Caribbean Constitutions Compromised By Changes To British House Of Lords
Source: CaribbeanWorldNews.com
Published: Fri. Oct. 2, 2009

Constitutions of independent Caribbean countries, which still send appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, will be compromised by the abolition of the judicial jurisdiction of the House of Lords.

So says Grenada-born attorney, Dr. Francis Alexis. Alexis said the October 1, 2009 dissolution of the judicial jurisdiction of the House of Lords and the substitution of the UK Supreme Court, inaugurated Thursday, means that there will no longer be law lords to constitute the main bench of the Privy Council.

This compromises the fundamental premise on which Caribbean constitutions continued the Privy Council into independence, said Alexis, adding that it will humiliate and embarrasses independent Caribbean nations.

It means that decisions taken in London as of Thursday will seriously impact constitutionally on independent Caribbean countries which retain appeals to the Privy Council, emphasizing how untenable it is for the Caribbean to continue sending appeals to the Privy Council, said Alexis.

He said the least the Caribbean can do now to redeem nationhood is to pull out of the Privy Council as quickly as possible. This would answer the wake-up call to get out early from the Privy Council , sounded recently by the president of the UK Supreme Court Lord Phillips, said Alexis.

Fortunately, Alexis notes, the Caribbean has available, as a regional final appellate court, the Caribbean Court of Justice. This facility of the CCJ, Alexis advises , should be utilised urgently by the Caribbean, following the shining examples of Barbados and Guyana.

British legal history was yesterday made with the new Supreme Court taking over from the House of Lords as the highest court in the UK. The Supreme Court is the result of the Constitutional Reform Act of 2005, aimed at separating the highest appeal court from the upper house of Parliament, and removing the Law Lords from the legislature.

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