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Referral Obligation Training

The Caribbean Court of Justice in its Original Jurisdiction has compulsory and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine disputes concerning the interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (“RTC”). Pursuant to Article 211 of the RTC, such disputes may arise between Member States parties to the Treaty, or between those Member States and the Caribbean Community, or from applications by persons in accordance with Article 222, or between litigants appearing before national courts or tribunals of Member States. Where such a dispute arises between litigants before national courts or tribunals, the RTC makes provision for the local court or tribunal to engage the CCJ to determine the particular issue that concerns the interpretation or application of the Treaty. National courts and tribunals are, therefore, key partners charged with ensuring that CARICOM law, that is, the RTC, decisions of competent Organs taken under the RTC and judgments of the CCJ in its Original Jurisdiction, take full effect and that the rights which the Treaty confers on natural and juridical persons are adequately protected. This ensures consistent and harmonious application of Community Law throughout the national legal systems of member States as it would be inimical to the cohesiveness of Community Law if each Member State was able to apply its own interpretation of the RTC. It is therefore essential that the Treaty receives the same interpretation in all the Member States, and that is what the referral process attempts to do, hence the importance of the referral function.

Trinidad and Tobago

The CCJ Academy for Law in collaboration with the Judicial Educational Institute of Trinidad and Tobago (JEITT) and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) orchestrated a referral training workshop for judicial officers on 18 May 2023 at the Convocation Hall of Hall of Justice. Over fifty (50) Justices of Appeal, Judges, Masters, Registrars, Chairs of specialised courts and tribunal and court officials, gathered to learn about the

CCJ’s referral process and the important role that municipal courts, specialised courts and tribunals play. This workshop was co-funded by the European Union through the 11th European Development Fund.

CCJ Academy for Law Chairman, Mr Justice Winston Anderson and the then Deputy, Mr Justice Jacob Wit discussed the concept of referrals and introduced the process respectively. Dr Chantal Ononaiwu, Director, External Trade, CARICOM Secretariat, led the practical examination of the referral process and assessed the audience’s understanding of the aspects through a group simulation exercise. The initial feedback from participants was encouraging as they praised the format of the workshop and the knowledge imparted from the presenters.


On the 23rd of June 2023, the Academy continued its Referral Training and Sensitization process with the Judiciary of Guyana at the Arthur Chang Conference Centre in Guyana.


On the 17 October 2023, the Court continued its referral/Original Jurisdiction training with the business sector and the Bar Association of Barbados

St. Lucia

On Tuesday, 20th February 2024, the Caribbean Court of Justice continued its Referral Workshop Series and sensitization sessions on the CCJ’s Original Jurisdiction with the St. Lucia Judiciary, Bar Association, and Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.

For one day, St. Lucia’s Judges, registrars, magistrates, attorneys, and business community gathered at Palmville Conference Center, Coco Palm Hotel and the Bay Gardens Beach Resort in multiple sessions to deepen their understanding of the referral

obligations of local courts and the Court’s original jurisdiction. This initiative is co-funded by the European Union.

The participants were involved in simulation exercises, step-by-step guides and group exercises that enabled them to identify when a question concerning the interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas arises in domestic proceedings, assess whether proceedings should be made to the CCJ and applying the ruling of the CCJ to resolve the dispute among other critical topics.

The sessions were facilitated by Justice Peter Jamadar, CCJ Judge; Dr. Jan Yves Remy, Director of the Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus; Suraj Sakal, CCJ Judicial Counsel, Ria Mohammed-Pollard, CCJ Communications Manager and John Furlonge, 11th EDF Support to the CCJ.