Port of Spain, Trinidad. On July 4th, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will see a change in its leadership as the Rt. Hon. Sir Dennis Byron retires and the CCJ’s 3rd President, the Hon. Mr. Justice Adrian Saunders, assumes the office of President. The transition will take place as part of the activities held just before the Opening of 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, after an exhaustive international search, it was announced that Mr. Justice Saunders 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.
Apart from being a Judge of the CCJ, 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) Intensive Study Programme for Commonwealth judges. Mr. Justice Saunders is also co-author of the book, Fundamentals of Caribbean Constitutional Law and is a contributing 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).
Mr. Justice Saunders 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 year. Before joining the CCJ he was a judge at the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and in 2004 he succeeded Sir Dennis as Chief Justice of that Court.
This is therefore the second time Justice Saunders has succeeded Sir Dennis Byron. Mr. Justice Saunders paid tribute to Sir Dennis’ tenure at the CCJ noting that “Sir Dennis has done much to enhance the judicial, administrative and technical operations of the CCJ and the final two judgments he delivered – one on Presidential term limits for Guyana and the other, which struck down the mandatory death penalty in Barbados – are testament to the kind of far-reaching and forward-thinking decisions that were made during his tenure”.
The CCJ will host two Special Sittings of the Court this month to be presided over by its new President. The first will take place at the CCJ’s headquarters in Trinidad and Tobago, 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.
Both Special Sittings and the Inauguration event will be broadcast live from the CCJ on the Court’s website at www.ccj.org. Links to the broadcast can be found under the Judgment & Proceedings area.