JIS News

Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator A.J. Nicholson, has announced that the Ministry has obtained from the Parliamentary Counsel, a draft of the proposed legislation that would allow for the substitution of the appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), for that of the Privy Council.
“The legislative scheme embodied in this draft, which is acceptable to the government, follows the procedures laid down by the Privy Council, and it also satisfies the two main issues that the Opposition has always emphasized as the fundamental points of concern,” said the Minister in a Statement to the Senate yesterday (January 19). “These are, firstly, that the Court should, from the beginning, be entrenched in the Constitution and secondly, that the Court should not begin to operate unless and until its underpinning provisions were submitted to the general electorate for their approval by some process limited to that specific issue as distinct from being one of many canvassed in a general election,” he added. Senator Nicholson pointed out that the draft legislation has been made available to the Opposition.
Parliament had passed a legislation that is required to enable Jamaica to subscribe to the original jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice. However, the attempt to substitute the appellate court for that of the Privy Council has been nullified on the grounds that appropriate parliamentary procedures were not followed.
“The procedure which the Privy Council said should have been followed would require the voting support in Parliament of at least some of the Opposition members as well as the other requirements in the Constitution relating to the amendment of an entrenched provision,” informed Mr. Nicholson. He said that in order for Jamaica to attempt to substitute the appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice for that of the Privy Council, two separate legislative measures would have to be passed. “One would amend Section 110 of the Constitution so as to establish the appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice as part of the Jamaican Constitution. The other would amend section 49 of the Constitution so as to include the new Section 110 in the list of ordinarily entrenched sections. These two Bills would come into effect simultaneously, because each would contain a clause making the activation of each dependent on the enactment of the other,” said Mr. Nicholson. “Since section 49 is a deeply entrenched section, there is the requirement that, after passage in Parliament, the inclusion of new provisions therein would have to be submitted to the electorate for approval. This will ensure that the electorate has the opportunity, from the very beginning, to give their stamp of approval to the institution of the Caribbean Court of Justice in place of the Privy Council,” he added. Senator Nicholson said it was therefore intended that during this year, legislation would be laid on the table of the House of Representatives and thereafter dealt with in accordance with the relevant constitutional requirements.