CCJ seeks to trigger digital revolution in Caribbean courts

Sir Dennis Byron, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice
Sir Dennis Byron, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad—The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is hoping that a set of technological upgrades it recently adopted will trigger a digital revolution in courts across the region, and transform how justice is delivered.

CCJ President Sir Dennis Byron, who spearheaded the Court’s adoption of the new digital platform for document-filing, case management and performance measurement, described the switchover as “a major development for lawyers and courts in the region,” with significant potential to make the delivery of justice more efficient and timely.

Byron explained that the electronic filing of case documents, in particular, would save both time and money for all parties.

“The new system will allow judges direct access to case information from any location, including via their mobile phones. It eliminates the risk of misplaced files and enables lawyers to commence proceedings by filing actions over the Internet,” he said in an interview at the CCJ headquarters in Port of Spain.

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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 debuts Electronic Court Management System

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

CCJ, Port of Spain – President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the Right Honourable Sir Dennis Byron, has been a fervent advocate for greater use of technology within regional judiciaries. In January 2017, this drive was enhanced by the implementation of a bespoke electronic court management software suite called Curia which includes an electronic filing platform, also referred to as e-Filing. The court issued a practice direction which took effect on 10 January when the Court term opened for 2017.

“Technological solutions will enable the CCJ, and courts in the region, to be more efficient and responsive. At the CCJ this process started some time ago when it introduced filing by email in 2013. The transition to e-Filing, which the new court management software facilitates, is a logical progression that allows litigants to file documents online and therefore enhances access to the Court and ultimately enables greater access to justice.” the CCJ President said. Sir Dennis noted that, since inception, technology has been successfully integrated into the operations of the CCJ.

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)
The CCJ was inaugurated on 16 April, 2005 in Trinidad and Tobago where it is headquartered. Its central role is providing legal certainty to the operations of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). It is structured to have two jurisdictions – an original and an appellate. In its original jurisdiction it ensures uniform interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, thereby underpinning and advancing the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. As the final court of appeal for Member States of the Caribbean Community it fosters the development of an indigenous Caribbean jurisprudence
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Take advantage of CSME – CARICOM Secretariat Economic Adviser tells businesses

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Regional private sector organisations should take advantage of the free movement of factors of production that the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) allows in order to achieve production efficiency and competitiveness.

This was the view of Ms. Desiree Field-Ridley, Adviser, Single Market and Sectoral Programmes, Directorate for Trade and Economic Integration of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat.

In an interview that focussed on maximising opportunities within the CSME, she pointed out that the CSME was intended to provide “access to total Region’s resources rather than just access to a country’s resource”.

“The intention is that it would enable producers to be more competitive because you now have a larger market not only for skills, but also for sourcing inputs for raw materials and intermediate goods,” she added.

Guyana, in particular, she noted, had the potential to be “a vital source of supply” in CARICOM, owing to its resource-rich characteristics. That potential is yet not fully tapped, she added.

“Guyana has its own abundant resources; it is a regional position that it has been not fully exploited, not only for its own benefit, but for the benefit of the entire Region.

“We just have to be able to exploit that potential. We know that there have been initiatives to attract the rest of the Region. Perhaps one needs now to look at what is needed to complement those offers and make them more attractive,” she reasoned.

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