Amongst Britain’s former colonies the independent countries of the Commonwealth Caribbean represent something of an anomaly in so far as the majority of them remain constitutional monarchies and continue to retain the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) as their final appellate court, even though the region has had its own final appellate court – the Caribbean Court of Justice – since 2006. This is in marked contrast to Britain’s former colonies in Africa and South Asia, the majority of which switched to republicanism soon after independence and at the same time abolished rights of appeal to the JCPC. This paper seeks to uncover the reasons for this anomaly by examining how the path that led to independence was shaped by a particular conception of Dominion status and by the willingness of nationalist leaders to embrace a dual identity: equal parts West Indian nationalist and Empire loyalist. It will also examine the phenomenon of the ‘postcolony’; being the persistence of the colonial order following the acquisition of constitutional independence. The paper has three aims. Firstly, to contribute to a better understanding of the impact of Dominion status and all that it symbolised in a region which is often overlooked in the scholarly literature on this topic. Secondly, better to understand the competing political forces that led three countries in the region to adopt republicanism, but inhibited its adoption elsewhere in the region. Thirdly, and finally, to enhance discussion of the complex nexus between republicanism and the abolition of rights of appeal to the JCPC where political and juridical considerations do not neatly align.
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\School of Law
Year of publication: 2018Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-08-16
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