Government willing to consider establishment of local final court - Justice Minister
The Government has said it would be willing to consider establishing Jamaica’s own final court in the future as it urged the opposition to agree for Jamaica to immediately leave the London-based Privy Council.
Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding this morning opened debate in the Senate on the three bills to establish the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as Jamaica’s final court with several arguments for the regional court.
Senator Golding stressed that many Jamaicans currently do not have access to the Privy Council because of the prohibitive costs associated with securing visas, air travel, accommodation in London and legal fees.
He also argued that there appears to be a move by the Privy Council to push out such appeals as filing fees have moved from £370 in 2013 to between £400 and £5,000 in some instances.
He noted that the CCJ’s filing fee is significantly lower at US$60.
Arguing against setting up a local final court, Golding noted that the CCJ is already fully funded and Jamaica cannot afford a court of its own at this time.
However, he said the Government would be willing to explore the idea in the future.
Golding also argued that Privy Council judges have also said they no longer wish to decide on cases such as those from Jamaica, and it is degrading for Jamaica to continue to force itself on that court.
Making reference to recent outrage at British Prime Minister, David Cameron’s comments on slavery, Golding questioned how Jamaica could continue to hang on to the Privy Council.
Golding also argued that a referendum on the CCJ would be unwise at this time as it could become highly political and end up serving no useful purpose.
He also claimed there is a growing tide across the country for the CCJ by civil society groups.
EDIT: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Government said it would be willing to consider establishing Jamaica’s own final court in the future if the opposition agrees with it to immediately leave the London-based Privy Council.