The Caribbean Community Administrative Tribunal (“CCAT”) was established by the Conference of Heads of Government on 27th February 2019 in St Kitts & Nevis. The CCAT is an impartial and independent judicial body that provides staff members of the CARICOM Secretariat and Institutions subject to the CCAT’s jurisdiction, with a forum for the adjudication of any employment disputes. After exhausting the internal dispute resolution mechanisms of their organization, staff members still aggrieved by the outcome will be able to appeal to the CCAT to settle their disputes. The establishment of the CCAT was important because the CARICOM Secretariat and Institutions, as international organizations, are eligible for diplomatic immunity in respect of lawsuits brought in national courts. This left staff members/workers without access to an appropriate and effective judicial mechanism for pronouncing upon the legality of regional organisations’ decisions which impact their staff/workers.
The CCAT is bound by international principles of due process of law, and its decisions are required to be consistent with the principles of fundamental human rights and in accordance with international administrative law. In exceptional cases judgments of CCAT can be appealed further to a Review Committee made up of five judges of the Caribbean Court of Justice (“CCJ”) after leave is granted by the Review Committee.
The CCAT is composed of five judges who are appointed by the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission (“RJLSC”).
The judges must be persons of high moral character, intellectual and analytical ability, sound judgment and integrity and must:
• have held, hold or be qualified to hold high judicial office in a CARICOM State; or
• be jurisconsults of recognized competence with experience as such for a period of not less than ten years; or
• be jurisconsults of recognized competence with particular experience in the field of labour relations for a period of not less than ten years.
In making the appointments, the RJLSC was also obliged to take into consideration equitable geographical distribution and an appropriate gender balance.
The seat of the CCAT will be in Trinidad and Tobago. The swearing in of the first five Members of the CCAT took place in Barbados on 17th February 2020 at the headquarters of the Caribbean Examination Council.