Dominica to ditch Privy Council as its court of appeal

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is set to become Dominica’s final court of appeal in a move that sees the nation cut ties with the UK’s Privy Council. 

In an official statement, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that the UK government had been officially informed of Dominica’s intention to cease to use the UK’s Privy Council as a court of appeal. 

First established in 2001, the CCJ is the Caribbean’s highest court, and serves the Caribbean Community (Caricom). 

The High Commissioner of Dominica in London held talks with the Privy Council in 2013 to discuss the administrative details surrounding the country’s decision. 

Ian Douglas, Minister of Legal Affairs, said: “One of the benefits that jump out readily is the whole issue of expense. To go to England to the Privy Council you have to purchase flights and hotels. Upon arrival you have to seek a British barrister so he can take your case to the Privy Council.” 

He added that the CCJ makes more use of video conferencing. 

Skerrit said he understood that the British government supported the move. 

In common with some other Caribbean countries, Dominica retains the death penalty, though it has not been carried out since 1986. Some human rights groups have raised concerns that the CCJ could become a ‘hanging court’.


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