The Caribbean Court of Justice

Sections 79C and D of the Constitution place the Caribbean Court of Justice at the pinnacle of the Barbados Judicial System. The Court has two jurisdictions: appellate jurisdiction and original jurisdiction.

In its appellate jurisdiction, the Court serves as the final court of appeal from any decision given by the Barbados Court of Appeal in civil and criminal matters.

In its original jurisdiction the Caribbean Court of Justice is a court of first instance which applies rules of international law in respect of the interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

In its original jurisdiction, it exercises both exclusive and compulsory jurisdiction in:

  1. disputes between Contracting Parties to the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice;

  2. disputes between any Contracting Party to the Agreement and the Caribbean Community;

  3. referrals from national courts or tribunals of Contracting Parties to the Agreement

  4. applications by persons in accordance with the Caribbean Court of Justice Act concerning the interpretation and application of the Treaty.

The Court also has exclusive jurisdiction: (i) to deliver advisory opinions concerning the application of the Treaty upon request of Contracting Parties or the Community; and (ii) where there is a dispute as to whether the Court has jurisdiction in a matter, to decide whether the Court has such jurisdiction.

The jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice is exercised in accordance with Rules of Court governing proceedings in the Court’s appellate and original jurisdictions. Initially issued in 2005 and 2006 respectively, the Rules have been amended from time to time and may be viewed on the Court’s website by clicking here.