New Court replacing Privy Council could mean greater economic opportunity for Caribbean region as well as more autonomy

Chief Justice David Simmons of the Barbados Supreme Court, discusses the role of the CCJ in successful regional economic integration.

Washington, DC Over 150 judges, attorney generals, attorneys, legal scholars and economic experts from 18 countries gathered in St. Michael, Barbados this week to discuss the establishment, implementation and operation of the soon-to-be-inaugurated Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). The International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI) hosted the symposium, “Establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice: The Effect on Intellectual Property and International Trade” in conjunction with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, CARICOM, USAID and the Government of Barbados.

The CCJ is the proposed regional judicial tribunal replacing the long-standing Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, headquartered in the United Kingdom. Acting as a hybrid institution, the CCJ will be both a regional Court of final appeal and an international Court with exclusive jurisdiction in interpreting and applying the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, the treaty establishing the single market of the Caribbean.

Several of the symposium’s sessions were devoted to a regional discussion of the impact the CCJ will have on the Caribbean and its economy.
Chief Justice Simmons, Ms. Katherine Turner, Mr. Malcolm Spence and Mr. Sheldon McDonald (from left to right) wait to add their views about the future of the CCJ.

“The governments of the region need to seize the opportunities for economic growth that can be found in more effective exploitation of intellectual property,” remarked Karen Turner, Mission Director of USAID Jamaica/Caribbean. “The CCJ would play a critical role in providing the consistency of interpretation of these rights that can help foster growth through intellectual property based industries.”

The Chief Justice of Barbados, the Hon. Sir David Simmons, opened the symposium with welcoming remarks. Later sessions included the Hon. Sir Dennis Byron, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, Malcolm Spence, General Counsel for Caribbean Negotiating Machinery, Peter Fowler of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and Bruce Lehman, IIPI President and former U.S. Patent and Trademark Commissioner, all of whom commented on the significant impact the CCJ will have on regional cooperation and economic potential in the Caribbean.

Sheldon McDonald of CARICOM discusses the impact the CCJ will have on regional integration and intellectual property.

“The Caribbean Court of Justice is fundamental to the development of Caribbean law and the enhancement of the right to access to justice for the people of the Caribbean,” noted Justice Simmons. “The Court will be a necessary institution in the process of constitutional repatriation and the process of regional integration.”

Critical issues highlighted during the symposium included:

• The CCJ’s impact on harnessing intellectual property rights for economic growth
• Delineating the jurisdictional boundaries inherent in the CCJ
• The administration and financial stability of the CCJ
• Enforcement of intellectual property in light of the CCJ

The IIPI delegation to Barbados included the Hon. Edward Damich, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Matthew Dunne, attorney at the firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker in Washington, DC, and Christopher Gibson, partner at Steptoe and Johnson, London.