History of Appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London

Author:Cheryl Thompson-Barrow
Pages:5-8
SUMMARY

Location of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council Jurisdiction of the Privy Council The effect of monarchical and republican streams of independent states

 
INDEX
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Location of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council

The history of the British Empire is well documented and its revision is not within the scope of this book. That Empire's global expanse could often be grasped when explained in terms of the sun never setting on it. Of course like any parent, the British Empire left its indelible genetic marks in critical areas of the legislative, executive and judicial arms of doing business in its former colonies.

The judicial branch of its legacy has enjoyed the greatest longevity in the form of appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (or Her Majesty in Council) as a court of final jurisdiction for former colonies of the British Empire.

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) sits at number nine Downing Street in London, although this does not have to be the case. In Ibralebbe v Thie Queen [1964] AC 900 at 922, it was reported that Lord Haldane in Alex Hull & Co. v M'Kenna [1926] IR 402, 404, stated, in relation to the Privy Council that it is 'not a body, strictly speaking, withh any location'.

In the latter part of 2006, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council went to hear matters in the Bahamas, a member of the Caribbean Community that has indicated that it will not be embracing the appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice. Thus it will not be replacing the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, as will be discussed below. This has raised questions of whether, with the decline of the Judicial Committee of Privy Council on the horizon, this itinerant move may have been intended to reduce the potential for such demise.

Jurisdiction of the Privy Council

The statutory authority of the Privy Council derives from the 1833 Judicial Committee Act, which lays the basis for its constitution and court procedure. The Privy Council used to be the final appeal court for several independent Commonwealth countries in exercise of its overseas jurisdiction, and it continues to be so for several others. It maintains this position also for dependencies, as a part of its domestic jurisdiction1.

The Privy Council's overseas jurisdiction is at the heart of the examination of this book. The table below indicates the present status of appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council or to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Her Majesty in Council (JCPC-HMC) as it obtains today.

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