The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of Great Britain met in Nassau during December 2007, the second year in succession that it has convened in The Bahamas. Speaking on behalf of the five Law Lords who comprise the Committee, Lord Hope of Craighead noted that when the Committee met in The Bahamas the previous year, it was the first time that the Privy Council, an institution in continuous existence since the 17th century, had sat outside the United Kingdom, where it normally sits at Chambers in Downing Street, London.
At the Opening Ceremony marking the Committee's second consecutive visit to The Bahamas, Sen. the Hon. Claire Hepburn, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, said ”Whereas an occurrence marks an event as unique, a recurrence establishes a precedent.”
Worthy of note is that the Committee, while sitting in The Bahamas, heard a case emanating from the Cayman Islands.
The Prime Minister of The Bahamas, the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham, reaffirmed to the Privy Council The Bahamas’ commitment to maintain judicial independence. He noted that Bahamian political institutions are modeled after Westminster, and the country’s legal and judicial institutions are based on English tradition, which he credited for the stability and prosperity The Bahamas has enjoyed through the years.
Lord Hope thanked the Bahamas Government, The Court of Appeal, the Judicature and people of The Bahamas for their hospitality. He explained that the roots of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council date back to the times of the Saxons, and that Independent Commonwealth states choose to remain with the Council because it provides a quality product and service. ”It provides an extra layer of guarantee of integrity, particularly for a global financial centre, and has the capacity to adapt to new conditions and grasp new opportunities.”
He said that the Judicial Committee of The Privy Council will return as often as it is invited to The Bahamas.