Belizean national sworn in as CCJ Judge

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The Honourable Mr. Justice Denys Arthur Barrow was sworn in as Judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) today at a ceremony at the Best Western Plus Belize Biltmore Plaza, in his home country of Belize. The Honourable Mr Justice Barrow, who was sworn in by His Excellency Sir Colville Young, is the first citizen of Belize to be appointed to the CCJ bench.

Mr. Justice Barrow brings to the CCJ bench a forty-year legal career together with various stints of judicial appointments in judiciaries across the Region and membership on a world-renowned tribunal dealing with international labour and human rights law.

Mr Justice Barrow is a graduate of the University of the West Indies with a Bachelor of Laws and received a Legal Education Certificate from the Norman Manley Law School. He was admitted to the practice of law in Belize in 1977 and embarked on a career in private practice. In 1990, Mr. Justice Barrow was elevated to Senior Counsel and went on to start his own law firm ‘Barrow and Company’.

CCJ Headquarters, Trinidad and Tobago
CCJ Headquarters, Trinidad and Tobago

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CCJ’S constitutional, human rights-based cases included in International Public Access Constitutional Law Database

CCJ Headquarters, Trinidad and Tobago
CCJ Headquarters, Trinidad and Tobago

The Caribbean Court of Justice’s (CCJ) first submission to the European Commission on Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission) has now been published in the Commission’s CODICES database. The submission comprised the summary (Précis) and full text of the Court’s seminal decision in the case of The Attorney General, Superintendent of Prisons and Chief Marshal v Jeffrey Joseph and Lennox Ricardo Boyce [2006] CCJ 3 (AJ). This appeal was filed and heard in the Court’s Appellate Jurisdiction.

In late 2015, the CCJ was invited to enter into a co-operation arrangement with the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional matters, to have its decisions, and their summaries, in cases concerning Constitutional law and human rights law issues to be included in CODICES. These cases span both the Appellate and Original Jurisdictions of the Court.

CODICES is the Venice Commission’s free public access InfoBase on Constitutional case law which provides access to over 8,000 judgments and summaries in cases decided by Constitutional Courts and courts which deal with similar matters, including international courts. It was established by the Commission’s Secretariat in Strasbourg and hosts decisions and summaries in English, French and other languages.

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CCJ modernises rules for its Original and Appellate Jurisdictions

The President of Caribbean Court of Justice, the Right Honourable Sir Dennis Byron (seated), signs the revised rules governing the Original Jurisdiction.  The signing took place on 21 April 2017 at an event held by the Court in celebration of its 12th anniversary.  The CCJ’s Registrar and Marshal, Mrs. Jacqueline Graham, who was a part of the review committee, watches as the document is authorised.
The President of Caribbean Court of Justice, the Right Honourable Sir Dennis Byron (seated), signs the revised rules governing the Original Jurisdiction. The signing took place on 21 April 2017 at an event held by the Court in celebration of its 12th anniversary. The CCJ’s Registrar and Marshal, Mrs. Jacqueline Graham, who was a part of the review committee, watches as the document is authorised.

After a comprehensive review of its rules of court, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) announces the publication of its Original Jurisdiction and the Appellate Jurisdiction Rules 2017. In 2014, the CCJ adopted the standard for the revision of its rules of court every two years. The revised rules, which are now on the Court’s website, were amendments to its previous publishing in 2015.

The President of CCJ, the Right Honourable Sir Dennis Byron, highlighted the need for periodic reviews of Court practices; “The CCJ recognises that is important to evaluate our procedures for efficiency and make sure that they are documented on a regular basis in order to continue to deliver fair and accessible justice. This rules revision exercise was particularly important as the Rules now accommodate recent changes to our internal processes, principally the adoption of e-Filing”.

The Court’s latest introduction of e-Filing allows persons to file a matter with the Court at their convenience and offers a structured way to make submissions by guiding the user through various required fields of information. In January 2017, the CCJ began using the Curia court management system which, in addition to electronic filing, has a performance management module and one for case management. (more…)

CCJ orders Guyana to repay taxes to beverage companies

CCJ Headquarters, Trinidad and Tobago
CCJ Headquarters, Trinidad and Tobago

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) (on Tuesday 9 May, 2017) ordered that SM Jaleel & Co Ltd (SMJ) and Guyana Beverages Inc. (GBI) be repaid monies collected in unlawful environmental taxes imposed by the Republic of Guyana. The Court however limited their claim to taxes collected within 5 years of the claim, from 2011 to 2015. The companies’ claim was filed in the Court’s original jurisdiction which deals exclusively with cases concerning the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC) which governs the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

SM Jaleel & Co (‘SMJ’), a Trinidad and Tobago-based company which manufactures and sells beverages, is the sole owner of Guyana Beverages Inc., a Guyanese company which sells and distributes SMJ’s beverages imported into Guyana. The companies approached the Court for a declaration that Guyana’s environmental tax of G$10 per beverage container violated the provisions of the RTC as Guyanese companies were not eligible to pay this tax. The companies applied for an order for reimbursement of US$11 million in taxes paid from January 1, 2006 to August 7, 2015. Guyana, in its defence, argued that the companies had incorporated the tax into the price of their beverages and passed on the tax to their customers. On that basis, Guyana further argued that reimbursement of the tax collected would result in the unjust enrichment of the companies. Guyana also argued that the companies should receive no reimbursement as they had delayed too long before making their claim. (more…)

Working together – CARICOM SG, Ambassadors and Heads of Community Institutions

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Work to strengthen the Region’s governance and implementation structures continued Thursday with the first joint meeting of the CARICOM Secretary-General, Heads of Community Institutions and the CARICOM Committee of Ambassadors  at the Pegasus Hotel, Georgetown, Guyana.

Thursday’s exchanges followed the fifth Meeting of the Committee of Ambassadors, held at the CARICOM Secretariat, also in Georgetown, on Wednesday. The Committee plays an important role in the governance structure of the Community, providing strategic advice and recommendations to the Community Council towards advancing the integration movement.

The Heads of Community Institutions  meet regularly with the Secretary-General to seek to harmonise efforts towards implementation of the CARICOM Strategic Plan.

Several participants joined the meeting via video conference.