The Judicature: Constitution, Composition And Jurisdiction

The Judicature is one of the three (3) branches of Government (Chapter VII of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas). It is independent of the Executive and the Legislature and is headed by the Chief Justice who is responsible overall for the administration of justice in The Bahamas, save for the Court of Appeal.

While the Constitution implicitly provides that the Judicature comprises the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council (the highest Court of Appeal for The Bahamas), the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, it also includes subordinate courts presided over by magistrates.

The highest resident tribunal in the country is The Bahamas Court of Appeal. Juridically and administratively, it is separate and apart from the Supreme Court and functions as an independent institution. The Chief Justice, although by virtue of his office as head of the judiciary, is a Justice of Appeal, may not sit in the Court of Appeal unless he has been invited so to sit by the President of the Court. Article 98 (2)(b) of The Constitution.

Appeals from the Supreme Court and from the Magistrate?s Court (in some cases) lie to the Court of Appeal; and appeals from the Court of Appeal lie to the Privy Council.