The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is a superior court of record for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), including six independent states: Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and three British Overseas Territories (Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, and Montserrat). It has unlimited jurisdiction in each member State.
The ECSC was established in 1967 by the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court Order No. 223 of 1967. In relation to Grenada, the Court is styled "the Supreme Court of Grenada and the West Indies Associated States". See section 105 of the Grenada Constitution.
The functions of the ECSC are as follows:
- To interpret and apply the laws of the various member states of the OECS;
- To decide cases of both civil and criminal matters;
- To hear appeals.
Appeals from the ECSC
Appeals from the ECSC can be lodged in defined cases to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the United Kingdom (in cases from Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, and Montserrat) or the Caribbean Court of Justice in Trinidad and Tobago (for cases from Dominica).
To be a judge or master of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, a person must have served as a judge in a Commonwealth jurisdiction or be qualified to act as a lawyer in a Commonwealth jurisdiction. An appointee does not need to be a national, judge, or lawyer of a country within the jurisdiction of the Court. The Chief Justice is appointed by the Queen by Letters Patent. Other judges are appointed on behalf of the Queen by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission[clarification needed].
High Court Judges and Masters are assigned to reside in and hear cases from a specific member state. It is common for judges to be asked to work in countries other than their home state. Judges are only occasionally assigned to reside in Montserrat and Anguilla—because of the small population of these countries, judges from the other jurisdictions hear cases that arise from these two jurisdictions. The Court of Appeal is itinerant and travels to the various countries to hear appeals.
Judges have life tenure but Justices of Appeal must retire when they are 65 and High Court Judges must retire when they are 62. Extensions of up to three years may be granted by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission only if all of the states agree to such an extension.
|Allen Montgomery Lewis||Saint Lucia||1967–72|
|P. Cecil Lewis (acting)||1972–75|
|Maurice Davis||Saint Kitts and Nevis||1975–80|
|Neville Berridge (acting)||Saint Kitts and Nevis||1983–84|
|Vincent Floissac||Saint Lucia||1991–96|
|Charles Michael Dennis Byron||Saint Kitts and Nevis||1996–2004 (acting 1996–99)|
|Adrian Saunders (acting)||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||2004–05|
|Brian George Keith Alleyne (acting)||Dominica||2005–08|
|Hugh Anthony Rawlins||Saint Kitts and Nevis||2008–12|
|Janice Pereira||British Virgin Islands||2012–|
The Headquarters of the ECSC is in Castries, Saint Lucia, where it is located on the second floor of the Heraldine Rock Building, Block B, on the Waterfront. The building houses the Justices of Appeal’s chambers, the Court of Appeal Registry, the Judicial Education Institute, Library, and the Administrative Services.
In addition, there are Court Offices in the nine Member States, which house the chambers of the High Court Judges and the offices of the High Court Registry. Each High Court Registry is headed by a legally trained Registrar who provides the necessary administrative and legal support for the functioning of the High Court.
- Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
- Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC)
- Caribbean Court of Justice