J’can prof backs CCJ
(Jamaica Observer) Jamaica’s newly appointed Ambassador to the United States, Professor Stephen Vasciannie has brushed aside notions of Jamaica having its own final appellate court, and at the same time has given a fresh vote of confidence to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) replacing the United Kingdom-based Privy Council as Jamaica’s court of last resort. Vasciannie, who will take up his appointment in the United States capital, Washington, DC, by the start of August, believes that it would be unworkable for Jamaica to have its own final appellate court while the framework for a Caribbean court already exists.
“I am in support of the CCJ being the final appellate court in Jamaica. It’s a little known fact, but I was one of the lawyers representing the government of Jamaica before the Privy Council, trying to establish the constitutional validity of the CCJ in Jamaican law.
Both at the personal and professional levels, I have sought to promote the CCJ in Jamaican law,” Vasciannie told the Jamaica Observer shortly after his appointment. “Some have proposed a Jamaican final court. But the case for the CCJ is stronger. First, the CCJ is able to draw from a wider pool of judicial talent and perspectives.
Second, the CCJ helps to underline the fact that Caribbean legal systems are similar, and reflect mutually enforceable cultural bonds. Third, the sharing of costs for the court ensures that the highest court reflects the highest standards.
And, fourth, the CCJ arrangements have been fully in place for almost a decade now: there is no need to dismantle these arrangements in order to have a Jamaican final court,” he stated.
The Rhodes Scholar, former Kingston College head boy and outgoing principal of the Norman Manley Law School at the University of the West Indies said that there were several advantages for the Caribbean region if Jamaica were to drop the Privy Council and go the route of the CCJ.