Written by on July 3, 2018

On July 4th, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will see a change in leadership from the Rt. Hon. Sir Dennis Byron to the CCJ’s 3rd President, the Hon. Mr. Justice Adrian Saunders.

The transition will take 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. The event will be live-streamed, starting at 4 pm AST, so that the public can also experience the event.

In March of this year, it was announced that Mr. 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. Mr. 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.

Mr. 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.

Sir Dennis has had a transformative influence on the judicial, administrative and technical operations of the CCJ. His leadership is rooted in a desire to achieve excellence at levels of the operations of the Court through a continuous process of assessment and improvement. Through the development of measurable performance standards throughout the Court, he has facilitated a progressive environment that promotes sustainable growth and evolution.

Mr. 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 will also be in Jamaica to attend the Inauguration Ceremony for Mr. 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, 13 July. The second Special Sitting takes place in Mr. Justice Saunders’ home country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday, 20 July at 9:30 am at the House of Assembly in Kingstown.

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