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Several groups come out in support of CCJ

Published:Tuesday | October 13, 2015 | 1:01 PM

Eight groups have joined forces to call for Jamaica’s lawmakers to vote in favour of making the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) the country’s final court.

The groups are the Jamaican Bar Association, Organisation of Commonwealth Caribbean Bar Associations, Cornwall Bar Association, Lawyers Christian fellowship, University of Technology Faculty of Law, National Integrity Action, Jamaica Civil Service Association, and the University and Allied Workers’ Union.

The Senate is to begin debate on Friday on three bills to adopt the CCJ’s appellate jurisdiction, paving the way for a move away from the Privy Council.

The groups say they feel it is important at this time to use their collective influence to support the move.

According to them, the CCJ and its various support mechanisms and entities are now well structured to ensure and maintain the independence of the Judiciary, to attract the finest legal minds and to insulate them from political or other interference.

It also says there is no need for a referendum on the matter noting that there has already been years of consultation with stakeholders.

The groups argue that the CCJ has been in operation for 10 years and the various judgments coming out of the CCJ have been sound, well-reasoned and comparable to those issued by other final appellate courts.

They also say the CCJ will increase access to appeals for Jamaicans.

Additionally, they argue that the CCJ is already established and paid for and no further investment is required.

They say Jamaica cannot afford to set up its own final appellate court at this time and it would be wasteful to allocate the country’s limited resources to establishing one.