Judicial independence is entrenched in the Constitution, and safeguarded in law and in practice.
The legality of the impeachment proceedings initiated by the Prime Minister against the Chief Justice, following an accusation of misconduct by the Director of Public Prosecutions and senior judges, is being challenged in the High Court.
In 2004, the infrastructure of the courts was improved with new buildings and improved IT facilities.
The areas of concern remain the heavy workload of judges, poor conditions of detention and lack of effective access to justice for the most impoverished sectors of the community. In February 2005, a law was passed conferring upon the newly-established Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) original jurisdiction to interpret Caribbean Community agreements.
The CCJ was also meant to replace the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as Trinidad and Tobago’s highest court of appeal but the idea was shot down due to opposition in Parliament in early 2005. Trinidad and Tobago is currently the only CARICOM Member State to have expressly declined to grant appellate jurisdiction to the CCJ. The government unsuccessfully tried to introduce new legislation in 2004 to remedy the ineffective mechanisms for reviewing police misconduct.
Trinidad and Tobago-Attacks on Justice 2005-Publications-2008 (full text, PDF)
Attacks on Justice 2005Publications