The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is an essential part of the effort to deepen and strengthen the Caribbean Community through a single market and a single economy; which the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas provides for. The CCJ is the final authority on disputes concerning the interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty, through the exercise of its original jurisdiction and, in this context, a critical component in the way the Single Market functions.
The CCJ, also meant to be the highest Appeal Court in CARICOM, considers and determines appeals in both civil and criminal matters from courts within the jurisdictions of Member States of the Community and which are parties to the Agreement establishing the CCJ. In the discharge of its appellate jurisdiction, the CCJ is the highest municipal court in the Region. However, some Member States are still to implement the Agreement establishing the CCJ as the final court of appeal.
Though headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago, in the exercise of its original jurisdiction, it is an iterant court, sitting in any of the Member States, as required.
In the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, Article V (1) of the Agreement establishing the CCJ, provides for the establishment of a Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission which has the responsibility for the appointment of the judges. This Commission comprises nine members, many of whom are selected by institutions of civil society, and independent of governments. The judges are not only drawn from the Caribbean Region. They are appointed by the Commission and can only be dismissed on the recommendation of the Commission acting on the advice of a tribunal established for the purpose. This approach for the selection and removal of the Judges was conceived in order to safeguard the political independence of the Court. CARICOM is probably the only integration movement where judges are not appointed by the political directorate to interpret and apply the instrument establishing the movement.
Reference CARICOM Handbook