The Caribbean Court of Justice and Regionalism in the Commonwealth Caribbean


  • Michelle Scobie Institute of International Relations, The University of the West Indies


Not all international and regional courts survive the test of time. There is more literature on those that did as compared with those that failed. The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) created in 2001 is today at a juncture where the usefulness and longevity of the Court sometimes comes into question by legal theorists and legal practitioners given the apparent lentitude of political adhesion to its appellate jurisdiction by some regional states. There has been substantial debate in the region over the readiness of the region to embrace the Court's appellate jurisdiction, it centres on perceptions and debates around legitimacy, representativeness, bias, independence and indigenous jurisprudence. To understand and contextualise the apparent difficulties that this young court faces, this article puts these debates within the wider international relations contexts of regionalism and the growth and demise of regional and international courts. Within this context, four factors contribute to our understanding of the value and success, or lack thereof, of regional courts: the nature of their historical evolution; adverse public opinion on their legitimacy; the extent to which powerful states do not feel threatened by them and allow their development and the economic and political contexts within which they develop.