Justice Patrick Robinson Says Jamaica Should Do Away With UK Privy Council

Story Highlights

  • Noted Jurist, Justice Patrick Robinson, has added his voice to the call for Jamaica to do away with the United Kingdom (UK)-based Privy Council as the country's final court of Appeal.
  • Justice Robinson, who is a judge of the International Criminal Court of Justice, in The Hague, Netherlands, was delivering the 11th Annual Paul Bogle and the Martyrs Lecture, at Morant Villas, in St. Thomas, on October 29.
  • It is the intention of the Government to replace the UK Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), as Jamaica's final Court of Appeal.

Noted Jurist, Justice Patrick Robinson, has added his voice to the call for Jamaica to do away with the United Kingdom (UK)-based Privy Council as the country’s final court of Appeal.

“We must use our sovereignty and independence in the best interest of Jamaica by (not) retaining the UK Privy Council as the final Court of Appeal,” he emphasised.

Justice Robinson, who is a judge of the International Criminal Court of Justice, in The Hague, Netherlands, was delivering the 11th Annual Paul Bogle and the Martyrs Lecture, at Morant Villas, in St. Thomas, on October 29.

He argued that while great strides have been made in the improvement of Jamaica’s justice system, more needs to be done to ensure citizens have equal access to all courts.

“Not having access to a court is just as bad as having access to a court that is biased and unjust in its decisions, as was the experience of the black poor of St. Thomas in 1865,” Justice Robinson said, in reference to the Morant Bay Uprising, led by National Hero, the Right Excellent Paul Bogle, in protest of an unfair court system at that time.

Justice Robinson further noted that through the establishment of their own courts, blacks of that era wanted complete control over the administration of justice for black people in Jamaica.

The Jurist stressed that this goal of sovereignty is one Jamaicans should still seek to fulfil, arguing that this will not be achieved through the UK Privy Council, which “is located 5,000 miles away in London.”

He added that “only the very rich and those who receive pro bono assistance from English Counsel can afford to use it.”

It is the intention of the Government to replace the UK Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), as Jamaica’s final Court of Appeal.

The three Bills that seek to amend the Constitution to entrench the CCJ as the country’s final appellate court, were debated and passed earlier this year in the House of Representatives, where the Government got the required two-thirds majority by virtue of having 42 of the 63 Parliamentary seats.

The Bills are currently being debated in the Senate.

The  lecture, put on by the St. Thomas 150th Planning Committee,  is one of the events marking the 150th Anniversary of the Morant Bay uprising.

It was hosted in conjuction with the St. Thomas Parish Development Committee and the Social Development Commission, through sponsorship from the Jamaica National Building Society.

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