After a comprehensive review of its rules of court, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) announces the publication of its Original Jurisdiction and the Appellate Jurisdiction Rules 2017. In 2014, the CCJ adopted the standard for the revision of its rules of court every two years. The revised rules, which are now on the Court's website, were amendments to its previous publishing in 2015.
The President of CCJ, the Right Honourable Sir Dennis Byron, highlighted the need for periodic reviews of Court practices; “The CCJ recognizes that is important to evaluate our procedures for efficiency and make sure that they are documented on a regular basis in order to continue to deliver fair and accessible justice. This rules revision exercise was particularly important as the Rules now accommodate recent changes to our internal processes, principally the adoption of e-Filing”.
The Court's latest introduction of e-Filing allows persons to file a matter with the Court at their convenience and offers a structured way to make submissions by guiding the user through various required fields of information. In January 2017, the CCJ began using the Curia court management system which, in addition to electronic filing, has a performance management module and one for case management.
Other substantive amendments in the 2017 Rules include:
• ending the requirement to file multiple print copies of documents;
• introduction of electronic signatures (in a specified format) to remove the requirement for printing and signing specified documents before uploading and filing;
• adoption of a gender-neutral approach in the wording of the Rules;
• shifting away from use of Latin terms in favour of simpler language in the Appellate Jurisdiction rules;
• introduction of express rules to provide for an application for special leave to appeal to be treated as the hearing of the substantive appeal and the basis on which costs should be determined in such cases.
In its Original Jurisdiction, the CCJ interprets the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas for countries, businesses and citizens of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). In its Appellate Jurisdiction, the Caribbean Court of Justice hears appeals from lower courts in both civil and criminal matters from countries which have decided that the CCJ should be their final court of appeal.
The CCJ’s Rules Committee is led by the Honourable Mr. Justice Rolston Nelson. The new rules of court became effective on the 21st April 2017 and is currently available for review and download at www.ccj.org.