January 17, 2020

German Judicial Scan commends Caribbean Court of Justice

A recent study conducted by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the German corporation for international co-operation, found a high level of confidence in the integrity and independence of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). The Judicial Integrity Scan also commended the Court for its institutional design, organisational capacities and the competencies of the staff.

The study was based on the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct which aim to establish standards of judicial integrity internationally. Additionally, the Scan utilised Article 11 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption as a benchmark of good governance and integrity.

GIZ is a German federal organization that supports the German government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. It has in the past supported and continues to support the Judicial Integrity Group which developed the Bangalore Principles to promote compliance with judicial integrity standards.

The results of the study found that the CCJ had a high level of compliance with the Bangalore Principles in several respects. These included having a Code of Judicial Conduct; the monitoring of its Judges’ compliance with this Code and the high level of public access to the Court’s hearings and judgments. All hearings at the CCJ are live streamed. GIZ found that this ensured a high level of transparency in Court decision-making.

GIZ were impressed with the manner in which Judges were recruited and noted that the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission (RJLSC), the institution that appoints the Judges of the CCJ, guarantees a free and independent selection of Judges based on ability and integrity, with the best candidate being selected among applicants. The GIZ did suggest, however, that to further ensure that the CCJ is compatible with other courts of a similar nature, measures could be established for unsuccessful applicants to be given the opportunity to file a competition complaint as part of the selection process to the Court.

The Report also considered that in order to strengthen public confidence in the CCJ, a gender balance among the judges should be sought in the future.

Overall, the GIZ applauded the CCJ for being an independent and accessible institution, creating a distinct benefit for the people of the Caribbean as it continuously exemplifies “great transparency and openness”.