International Judicial Monitor
Published by the International Judicial Academy, Washington, D.C., with assistance from the
American Society of International Law

Spring 2013 Issue

International Tribunal Spotlight


The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court 

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court 

By: James G. Apple, Editor-in-Chief, International Judicial Monitor and President, International Judicial Academy

The Caribbean area of the Western Hemisphere is not large. The islands that make up the Caribbean are all relatively small, with the exceptions of Jamaica, Cuba and Hispaniola (home of the Dominican Republic and Haiti).  The total land mass of all of the islands outside the above three would probably not be greater than the state of  Massachusetts in the United States. It therefore might come as a surprise to a visitor to the Caribbean to find out that the area actually supports two international courts. The first, the Caribbean Court of Justice, has already been featured in an earlier issue of the International Judicial Monitor (click Archive at the top of the Home Page and then go to the January 2007 issue for a description of that court). The second international court that exists in the region is the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. The Chief Justice of that Court, Chief Justice Janice Pereira, first Chief Justice of the ECSC was recently honored by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom by making the Queen’s Honors List and being named a Dame Commander in the Order of the British Empire.

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court is a relatively old international court when compared to others around the world. It was created in 1967; it has thus been in existence 46 years. During those 46 years it has been led by 11 Chief Justices.

The court arose out of the West Indies Act of 1967 passed by the House of Commons. As a result of this Act seven states of the Eastern Caribbean were granted a new status of association with the United Kingdom. These seven states were Antigua, Anguilla, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Vincent, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia. The Act called for the creation of common courts. The result was eventually one court, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, which was composed of a Court of Appeal and a High Court of Justice.


The Court of Appeal is “itinerant,” that is, it travels to the Members States and Territories. It sits at each place during designated times each year, and hears appeals “from the decisions of the High Court and Magistrates Courts in Member States in both civil and criminal matters.”

The composition of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice (Head of the Judiciary), four Justices of Appeal, 19 High Court Judges, and three Masters (“primarily responsible for procedural and interlocutory matters”).

The Supreme Court was originally located on the island of Grenada, but now has its headquarters in Saint Lucia. Each member state maintains its own office, and the local High Court judge also has an office in the local court office. The offices of the Court of Appeals Justices are located in the Court’s main office in Saint Lucia. Also located in the main Court Office are the offices of the Court Administrator and Chief Registrar. High Court Judges are assigned to and reside in the various Member States.

Justices of the Court hold office until reaching the age of 65, while High Court Judges must retire at age 62.  A Judicial and Legal Services Commission can, with the permission of the Heads of State of the Member States, extend a judge’s term for a period of not exceeding three years. Qualifications for judges on the Supreme Court include service as a prior judge in one of the Member States, or qualification as an advocate in the Court for a specified number of years, different for the Court of Appeal and for the High Court.

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court also overseas a Judicial Education Institute, which was created in 1997, which provides training programs for both judges and court staff.


ASIl & International Judicial AcademyInternational Judicial Monitor
© 2013 – The International Judicial Academy
with assistance from the American Society of International Law.

Editor: James G. Apple.
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