Search The Caribbean legal system From the way it looks, there seemed to have no problem regarding the application of the doctrine of the precedent in so far that the case in point bears similar circumstances.
For Antoine, the notion of a commonwealth betrays the historical fact of imperialism and gave the region certain identity, which still survives even today. It encompasses the independent and the dependent democratic states but currently, the dependent states are less in number than the independent states.
While the Caribbean Communities are independent, Antoine noted that the reality of colonialism is still evident in the study of the Caribbean legal system. In the Caribbean Communities, the most important source of law is the common law or the case law.
Apparently, the common law reflects the particular value and the need of the society. But with the application of the doctrine of precedent the Caribbean community finds that the Caribbean legal justice does not reflect the social value and the need of the society because its principle is not based on applying and interpreting legal norms of the Caribbean community and the court judgment is simply based on the analogy of reason and the previous court decision.
In this case, the judge decision is based on reason by analogy and the case where the decision was based is called the doctrine of the precedent. James Popple cited that the principle of stare decisis holds that courts should apply the doctrine of precedent.
Citing the works of Morris et al.
Popple pointed out that the general rules of the doctrine of the precedent can be summarized as follows: Each court is bound by decisions of courts higher in its hierarchy a decision of a court in a different hierarchy may be of considerable weight, but will not be binding; only the ratio decidendi of a case is binding; any relevant decisions, although may be considered and followed, and precedents are not necessarily abrogated by lapse of time.
Perhaps the simplest understanding of the doctrine of precedent is that it is a law made by judges rather than by legislation through the determination of legal cases. Besides, the doctrine of the precedent had been utilized in various countries particularly in Europe and America.
The implication of this is that CCJ will formulate decision on the case which maybe based on the previous decision or the doctrine of the precedent, to be respected and followed by the tribunal or the court as under the principle of stare decisis or the doctrine of the precedent, within the judicial system, all courts are bound by decisions made on the same matter by superior courts within that self-same system.
The irony is that according to Duke E. The inability of the doctrine of the Precedent to the social values and need of the Caribbean society The debate on the issue of the scope of responsibility of CCJ implied that the Caribbean legal system does not reflect the social values and need of the society as according to those who are pushing for the CCJ as a trade court, the CCJ does not address matters of justice.
The application of the doctrine of precedent in the Caribbean legal system however, has made some obvious glitch.
The problem with this application according to H. Lim A Po is that the rule of binding precedents is applied also in the interpretation of statutes which may not be on the same legal justification with the civil law courts. In this case, the application of the doctrine of the precedents might not reflect the social value and need of the Caribbean Community as most of the statutes were not formulated in the context of the Caribbean Community but in the context of the English law.
While the law should serve as a mirror of the society, which means that the law must change and that it should always be contextual to reflect the needs of the changing times and changing conditions of the society, the doctrine of the precedent restrain this change. According to Albert K.
The Caribbean legal system functions through the Caribbean Court of justice which has two forms of jurisdiction: Lim A Po stated that the Caribbean Court serves as international tribunal in the interpretation and application of the treaty of Chaguaramas by applying rules of international law in exercising original jurisdiction.
In this system, the court exercised exclusive jurisdiction and is not allowed to bring in other findings or evidences on the grounds of stillness or weakness in the law.system and the people’s procuratorate system, consisting of a 4-level hierarchy: the basic (local) level, the municipal (intermediate) level, the provincial (higher) level, and the national (Supreme) level.
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