The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC), formerly in the Council Chamber in Downing Street until 2009, is housed in the Supreme Court building in Parliament Square. It is the final court of appeal for commonwealth countries that have retained the right to appeal to her Majesty in Council or, in the case of Republics, to the Judicial Committee. The JCPC also hears appeals from UK overseas territories, Crown dependencies, military sovereign base areas and certain domestic appeals.
The JCPC usually hears appeals in the UK, however, on rare occasions it can be invited to consider appeals in the jurisdiction from which the appeal originates.
The JCPC has authority to hear international, constitutional, civil, and criminal appeals from many jurisdictions. It has its own Rules and Practice Directions which govern the appeal process, and its own court fee structure depending on the value of the appeal.
Five Justices of the Supreme Court usually sit to hear appeals from the Commonwealth, with three sitting for other appeals. These Justices are commonly referred to as the Board.
Appeals from Commonwealth Countries
The JCPC hears appeals from Antigua and Barbuda – Bahamas – Cook Islands and Niue – Grenada – Jamaica – St Christopher and Nevis – Saint Lucia – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – Tuvalu.
The independent republics of Trinidad and Tobago, Kiribati and Mauritius can also appeal to the JCPC.
Appeals from UK Overseas Territories
Appeals can also be heard from Anguilla – Bermuda – British Antarctic Territory – British Indian Ocean Territory – British Virgin Islands – Cayman Islands – Falkland Islands – Gibraltar – Montserrat – Pitcairn Islands – St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha – Turks and Caicos.
Appeals from Crown Dependecies and Sovereign Base Areas
The JCPC hears appeals from Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man.
Appeals are also heard from the sovereign base areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in Cyprus. The applicable law in these circumstances is Sovereign Base Area law which is closely guided by the laws of the Republic of Cyprus.
The JCPC also has jurisdiction to hear appeals from the Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons – the Arches Court of Canterbury and the Chancery Court of York – Church Commissioners – Prize Courts – Court of Admiralty of the Cinque Ports – the High Court of Chivalry – disputes under the House of Commons Disqualification Act.
Also, pursuant to the Judicial Committee Act 1833, section 4, Her Majesty has the power to refer any matter to the JCPC for “consideration and report”.
Appeals Before the Judical Comittee
In order to bring an appeal to the JCPC, you must either be granted leave to appeal from the court in the originating jurisdiction whose decision you wish to appeal, or you must apply for permission to appeal directly from the JCPC. In civil cases, for permission to appeal to be granted, the JCPC must be satisfied that the case raises a question of general public importance. Whether you have leave to appeal or you are making an application for permission to appeal, it must be done within 56 days of the date of the order or decision of the court below granting permission or final leave to appeal, or within 56 days from the date of the order or decision of the court below refusing permission to appeal.
It is very important that the Notice of Appeal/Application for Permission to Appeal is filed within the time limit set by the JCPC. However, it is possible to make an application for an extension of time after the time limit has expired, and our specialist solicitor is highly experienced in making such applications.
Applications to the JCPC for permission to appeal are usually considered and decided on paper. In some instances, the Judicial Committee may direct an oral hearing, in which case a date will be fixed for the hearing of the application for permission. Whether the application is decided on paper or at a hearing, the decision of the Judicial Committee is then recorded in an order and sealed by the Registrar.
Our Specialist Expertise
Lewis Nedas Law has joined the ranks of the select few firms in London that offer specialist expertise in pursuing and defending appeals before the JCPC.
Our Privy Council solicitor, Asal Nath, has over a decade of experience in representing both individual and corporate clients in civil and constitutional appeals from various jurisdictions. She has in depth knowledge of the procedures involved, a strong working relationship with the JCPC Registry, and close ties with barristers who work at the exceptionally high level required before the Judicial Committee, all of which allow for an efficient and smooth appeal process.
Having been involved in numerous appeals of varying complexity, Asal has the necessary technical expertise and is highly skilled in the appeal process, ensuring that your matter is progressed efficiently and in the most cost-effective manner possible. Asal is sensitive to the fact that her clients work in different time zones and always ensures that she is available as and when the client needs, offering seamless client care at every step.
Public funding is not available for appeals to the JCPC. Asal offers competitive rates and regularly agrees fixed fees with clients for each stage of the appeal process. She will be happy to discuss your funding needs with you and agree with you the most appropriate way forward.
Asal has acted for clients in over 80 appeals from a broad range of jurisdictions including, British Virgin Islands, Antigua, Guernsey, and has very close ties with Trinidad and Tobago. Her clients include high profile individuals and organisations, corporate entities, as well as private individuals. Asal cultivates her relationships with those who instruct her and as a result, often secures repeat instructions from many of her clients. She works closely with both attorneys and clients in the originating jurisdictions to achieve the outcome desired. Her Privy Council portfolio includes:
- A successful appeal on behalf of the Muslim & Hindu community of Trinidad & Tobago for a declaration that the highest national award, The Trinity Cross of the Order of the Trinity, discriminated against them, and those who are not Christian, and breached their right to equality of treatment, amongst other things. The declaration was granted, and the award was later re-named The Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
- An appeal on behalf of an individual in Trinidad & Tobago in connection with refusal of an application for judicial review of the decision to not consider the individual in question for the appointment of acting Chief Prison Welfare Officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Prisons Service. The appeal was allowed and the Board granted the individual leave to apply for judicial review.
- A successful appeal on behalf of a motor insurance company in Trinidad and Tobago as to whether under the Motor Vehicles Insurance (Third-Party Risk) Act (Ch 48:51; Act 39 of 1933 as amended) a victim of damage to property can obtain indemnity from the vehicle owner’s driver under circumstances where the driver was not authorised to drive the vehicle.
- Successfully resisted an appeal brought against an oil company in the British Virgin Islands in relation to the lawfulness of the seizure, by the Commissioner of Customs, of the oil company’s fuel storage tank in Tortola, together with its contents.
- A repeat instruction & successful appeal on behalf of an oil company in the British Virgin Islands in connection with a Refined Petroleum Products Supply Agreement, the central issue of which was whether a party with a right to claim relief from further performance of its obligations under a contract had in law to make an election between exercising the right and continuing to perform the contract such that, if the latter choice was made, the right to claim “performance relief” was lost.