St. Kitts and Nevis wants Appeal Court to give advisory opinion

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Hon. Patrice Nisbett (Photo by Erasmus Williams)

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY 21ST 2012 (CUOPM) – The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is seeking parliamentary approval for the Federal and the Nevis Island Administration to request the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal to give an advisory opinion on important constitutional questions or issues of public interest.

Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Hon. Patrice Nisbett will bring before lawmakers on Thursday, The Attorney General’s Reference (Constitutional Questions) Bill 2012, which provides for the referral of important question of interpretation of the constitution and the constitutionality of legislation enacted by parliament and Nevis Island Legislature.

The bill seeks to establish a new arrangement with the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal, whereby the Attorney General, with the approval of Cabinet, “may request an advisory opinion on important constitutional questions or important questions of public interest.”

An interested person may be notified of the hearing on the question and such a person may be entitled to be heard by the Court of Appeal.

“The Court will then be charged with the responsibility to hear and consider the question, answer each question and give reasons for each answer and certify its opinion on each question,” said the explanatory notes which accompany the draft Bill.

“The opinion of the Court of Appeal is pronounced in the same manner as in a case of a judgment on the appeal to the Court but it shall not be binding on the parties. This Bill shall not have the effect of derogating from any of the powers of the Court of Appeal,” said the note.

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