Vincentian appointed head of  Caribbean Court of Justice
July 6, 2018
Vincentian appointed head of Caribbean Court of Justice

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) saw a change in leadership on Wednesday from the Rt Hon Sir Dennis Byron to the CCJ’s 3rd President, the Hon Mr Justice Adrian Saunders.

The transition took place as a part of the activities before the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, Montego Bay, Jamaica.

In March of this year, it was announced that Justice Saunders, after an exhaustive international search, would be appointed as President of the Court. He has been a Judge at the CCJ since 2005 and has contributed immensely to the administration and judicial functions of the Court.

Rt Hon Sir Dennis Byron

Justice Saunders is also the Chairman of the Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers (CAJO) and the Course Director of the Halifax-based Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute’s CJEI’s Intensive Study Programme. He is also one of the Institute’s Directors. Justice Saunders has also co-authored the book, Fundamentals of Caribbean Constitutional Law and is a contributor editor of the Caribbean Civil Court Practice. In April 2018, he was appointed to the Advisory Board of the Global Judicial Integrity Network by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

He holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill) in 1975 and the Legal Education Certificate of the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad & Tobago in 1977. He was called to the Bar of St Vincent & the Grenadines in that same year. He worked with Sir Dennis at the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and was later reunited with him in 2011 when Sir Dennis was appointed President of the CCJ.

Justice Saunders paid tribute to Sir Dennis’ tenure at the CCJ, “to say that his impact is immeasurable is not hyperbole. During the period that Sir Dennis was President of the Court, we went from attorneys having to courier voluminous files to the CCJ, to filing by email and now full e-filing. The final two judgments that Sir Dennis delivered – one on Presidential term limits for Guyana and the other, which struck down mandatory death penalties in Barbados, are testament to the kind of far-reaching and forward-thinking decisions that were made during his tenure”. Sir Dennis was also be in Jamaica to attend the Inauguration Ceremony for Justice Saunders.

The CCJ will also host two Special Sittings of the Court to commemorate its new President. The first will take place at the CCJ, starting at 9:30 am AST, on Friday, July 13. The second Special Sitting takes place in Justice Saunders’ home country of St Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday, July 20 at 9:30 am at the House of Assembly in Kingstown.

Both Special Sittings will be broadcast live from the CCJ on the Court’s website at Links to the broadcast can be found under the Judgment & Proceedings area.