President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Sir Dennis Byron has welcomed the decision made by the government of Dominica to sever ties with the London-based Privy Council in order to join the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice.
"The decision taken by the Government of Dominica to join the CCJ is timely, and the CCJ stands ready and able to serve. I trust that it will not be long before other governments in the OECS follow this example of leadership without too much delay", said Byron in a presentation to members of the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce on Wednesday.
The CCJ president noted that while there are concerns that it is taking a long time for member states within the Caribbean Community to join the CCJ in its final appellate jurisdiction, it is not abnormal for new courts to take some time for litigants to bring cases before it.
"The example that is often cited of that phenomenon is the European Court of Human Rights which only heard 10 cases in its first 10 years. In 2011, however, that court had almost 140,000 cases pending before it. The CCJ, on the other hand, has already delivered over 60 judgements in its appellate jurisdiction alone. I would, therefore, regard the decision by Dominica as continuing a trend that is favourable and encouraging."
Concerning the independence of judges of the CCJ, Byron pointed out that the judges are appointed after a competitive selection process that is free from political control and interference.