Privy Council clarifies points
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Mr MIKE Taylor's letter ('Why cling to the Privy Council?', December 16) seeks to clarify certain issues related to Jamaican citizens' right to appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC), but in his letter, he misrepresents a couple of important points. It would be inappropriate for the JCPC to seek to intervene in the public debate about its jurisdiction in Jamaica, so I write simply to set out the factual position.
Contrary to what Mr Taylor says, the JCPC has sat outside the United Kingdom on two occasions since October 2009: once in Mauritius in April 2010, and again in Mauritius in March 2012.
The JCPC has made it clear that it remains very willing to consider sitting outside the UK where it receives an official invitation to do so from the chief judge and the government of the country concerned, where the costs of the JCPC are covered by the hosts, and where there is sufficient work to justify such a visit.
Lord Phillips retired as president of the UK Supreme Court and also from the JCPC in September 2012. The current president is Lord Neuberger. Our position has always been, and remains, that the JCPC does not lobby or encourage sovereign independent countries to join or leave its jurisdiction. It is entirely a matter for the individual country concerned whether it wishes to continue to use the service that the UK's most senior judges offer to such countries.
Head of Communications
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, London