Data shows Privy Council upholding more decisions than it overturns
The London based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) upheld just over 61 per cent of the rulings of Jamaica's Appeal Court over the ten year period 2001-2011.
Noted attorney-at-law Walter Scott provided that data after an analysis in reaction to claims by fellow attorney Hugh Wildman who weeks ago questioned the quality of the judgments coming out of the local and regional courts.
"It is my considered view that the quality of the judgments given by the Privy Council are far superior to what we are seeing in the region and for that matter what we are seeing coming out of the CCJ (Caribbean Court of Justice)," Wildman declared at a Gleaner Editors' Forum.
"As it stands now, when one looks at the quality of the judgments coming out of the region, including Jamaica, I cannot say if we were to replace the Privy Council (with the CCJ) that we would be attaining that level of competency," Wildman added.
But in response Scott argued that the debate over the quality of the judgments from the local courts has been "a subjective one, layered with emotionalism but devoid of facts".
"One measure of the quality of the judgments of our Court of Appeal is whether a majority of these decisions are overturned by the JCPC," said Scott.
"The facts are that nearly two thirds of the decisions of the Court of Appeal of Jamaica are upheld by the JCPC. Clearly the judgments of the Court of Appeal are of a high quality," added Scott.
He noted that in the 10 year 2001-2011, 72 appeals from Jamaica were heard by the JCPC with 26 being of criminal matters and 56 being civil decisions.
Of that number 44 of the decisions of the Court of Appeal were upheld by the Privy Council and 37 reversed.
Last year the Privy Council ruled on six cases from Jamaica and upheld the Court of Appeal's ruling in five of the cases.
The year 2006 was the only one, in the 10-year span, when more decisions were reversed (six) than the number upheld (four).