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Privy Council Has Fourth Sitting In The Bahamas


IMG_1523Having sat in Nassau on more occasions than they have anywhere other than the United Kingdom, the Judicial Committee of the London-based Privy Council will see its fourth sitting of The Bahamas’ final Court of Appeal this week as five Privy Council judges are set to hear appeals and applications over the next five days.

Welcoming the judges were Court of Appeal President Dame Anita Allen and Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson, who both noted that citizens of The Bahamas recognize and believe in the justice system, expecting the same to be fair with the rule of the law.

“The ability of litigants in The Bahamas to appeal to the Privy Council affords them the opportunity to have their decisions reviewed and any errors corrected by a third level of experienced judges,” Dame Allen said.

“This maintains the trust and confidence of the public in the justice system and meets the demand for the rule of law for fair and just results in every case.”

Mrs. Maynard-Gibson noted that the fundamental rights are dependent on the rule of law.

“Today citizens throughout the Commonwealth and beyond know that their fundamental rights depend on a uniform application of the law by a judiciary that is guided by precedent and the rule of law, rather than politics or public opinion.

“Your sitting this week underscores the importance of these principles,” she said.

Dame Allen further noted that although there is a challenge of distance, the Privy Council is making attempts to overcome the challenges that they may face.

“The Privy Council continues to overcome the challenges of distance and it has been able to successfully navigate through the 40 problems presented by the multiplicity and diversity of the legal systems in such jurisdictions,” Justice Allen stated.

Leading the delegation of Judges, Lord Mance noted in his remarks during the first sitting the distinct pleasure of himself and fellow judges being able to have the opportunity to witness the Judicial system of The Bahamas.

“We are delighted to be here at first hand on this occasion, it gives us a wonderful opportunity to witness The Bahamas constitution and legal system in action, to hear at first-hand about current thinking and developments and to understand how the Privy Council may best contribute,” Lord Mance stated.

Lord Mance further noted that notwithstanding the honor of visiting The Bahamas for court proceedings, the Privy Council is working on being able to hear cases via webcast procedures.

“We have already trialed one video link hearing which was very successful. Surprised at the ease to conduct a dialogue between two different jurisdictions far apart.

“We are setting up the Privy Council so that it will be able to do that on a more regular basis so that each case will be reviewed,” Lord Mance said.

Lord Mance continued by extending a welcoming invitation to the President of the Court of Appeal and other judicial persons to visit the United Kingdom, specifically London as to strengthen the relationship between the two judiciaries.

“We very much welcome any such judicial visits by you and your successors or colleagues to fortify the connection with us in London. We greatly value the links which binds us together,” he said.

The working visit of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is inclusive of Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Sumption, Lord Reed and Lord Hughes who will hear five matters for the first time again since the Judicial Committee’s last visit to Nassau in March/April of 2009.


Written by Jones Bahamas

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