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Faculty of Law Invited as Amicus Curiae in Caribbean Court of Justice Advisory Proceedings
01/11/2019

In June 2019 the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) invited the Deans or Heads of Department of the Faculties of Law of the University of the West Indies, the University of Guyana, the University of Technology (Jamaica), the University of the Bahamas and the Anton de Kom University of Suriname to make written submissions as amicus curiae on the request for an Advisory Opinion filed by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).  This advisory request was the first made since the inauguration of the Court and this occasion also represented the first for which the Court invited amicus curiae submissions. 
 
A team from the Cave Hill Faculty of Law filed submissions in the matter and appeared at the Court’s oral hearings on October 22-23, 2019. In doing so the Faculty acted under its mandate to help educate persons on, and to develop, Caribbean law and legal systems.  We also fulfilled one of our goals under the University’s Triple A Strategic Plan, namely, to create greater alignment between the University and regional needs by promoting greater activism and public advocacy.
 
The Advisory Request raised the question of whether Member States could opt out of (avoid being bound by) the decisions of CARICOM’s Conference which sought to expand the categories of skilled community nationals eligible for free movement under Article 46 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.  It also asked about the consequences of such an opt out, for (1) the nationals of the state opting out and (2) for other Community nationals.  The Court’s summary of the Advisory Request is as follows:
 
The Court will convene a hearing for further directions in an Advisory Opinion being sought by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). This is the first Advisory Opinion filed at the CCJ and it concerns whether a Member State can, pursuant to Article 27(4) of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, lawfully opt-out of a decision of the Conference of the Heads of Government taken under Article 46(4) concerning the expansion of classes of persons entitled to work and move freely in the Community and whether the nationals of those Member States which opt-out of a decision under Article 27(4), can nevertheless derive the benefits of the decision.[1]
 
The team from the Cave Hill Faculty of Law who filed written submissions in the case comprised both full time and part time academic staff, namely, Dr David S Berry, Dean of Law, Mr Westmin James and Ms Nicole Foster, Lecturers in Law, and Dr Jan Yves Remy, Deputy Director of the Shridath Ramphal Centre and Part Time Lecturer in the Faculty of Law. 
 
The oral arguments in the case were wide-ranging.  They were video-recorded and can be viewed on the CCJ’s YouTube site at the following links:
 
Day 1 -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6U91LnZQJ9Q
Day 2 -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpkSy3JZXeY
 
The Cave Hill Faculty of Law is delighted to have been able to participate in these important hearings and in the development of regional integration law.
 
[1] As quoted from: https://www.ccj.org/judgments-proceedings/courtroom-1-live-stream/