Dominica has received permission from the United Kingdom government to drop the London-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as its final court of appeal.
Taking its place will be the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice, a move welcomed by many in the country and across the region.
The Dominican government wrote to UK authorities in 2012 with its intention and sought a declaration of “no objection” from the government. That declaration was granted, Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said on Jan. 24, according to the news website Caribbean News Now.
That permission will allow the country’s legislature to pass a law making the change official.
“That now paves the way for us to go to parliament and take the bill to parliament to finally join the CCJ in its appellate jurisdiction,” Mr. Skerrit said, adding, “It is good news for the process of us recognising our own courts in the region.”
He added that having a final court of appeal in the Caribbean will assist in regional integration as it strengthens groups like the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and Caricom.
The Privy Council has served as the judicial system’s court of last resort for the United Kingdom’s former possessions since 1833.
In the 1920s it served more than a quarter of the world’s population and still serves as the final court for Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and other now-independent Caribbean nations.
Additionally, the UK’s 14 overseas territories, including the Virgin Islands, and three Crown dependencies also use the court.
The CCJ, which opened its doors in 2005, is currently used only by Belize, Guyana and Barbados as a final court of appeal. It also resolves treaty disputes that arise within Caricom.