History is being made at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) which is currently hearing oral submissions in the first ever Advisory Opinion filed in the Court pursuant to Article 212 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC).
Article 212 of the RTC empowers the CCJ with exclusive jurisdiction to deliver advisory opinions concerning the interpretation and application of the RTC. Advisory opinions can be delivered only at the request of the Member States parties to a dispute or the Community.
The present request, which was filed by the CARICOM Secretariat, concerns two substantive issues:
(1) 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.
(2) 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.
On Day 1, the Court heard, inter alia, from CARICOM’s General Counsel, Dr. Corlita Babb-Schaefer, as well as counsel from Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, Grenada. Also appearing amicus was a team from the Faculty of Law, The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus represented by Dean Dr. David Berry and law lecturers, Mrs. Nicole Foster and Mr. Westmin James. The live recording from Day 1 may be watched here.
On Day 2 of the hearing the Court heard closing submissions. In closing, the Court promised to deliver its Advisory Opinion in a “reasonable time”. Day 2 of the hearing may be watched here.
Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B., is an international trade and development consultant with a keen interest in sustainable development, international law and trade. You can also read more of her commentaries and follow her on Twitter @LicyLaw.
DISCLAIMER: All views expressed herein are her personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of any institution or entity with which she may be affiliated from time to time.