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Feb 20, 2019

“An Academic Argument” says Lisa on I.C.J. Referendum Not Being Binding

Lisa Shoman

Despite its imminence, there are those who argue that the I.C.J. referendum is not binding and it’s merely a consultative process.  One of the final cases heard before the Privy Council prior to Belize adopting the Caribbean Court of Justice as its final appellate jurisdiction, was the Vellos case where the idea of the binding nature of a referendum was argued.  Shoman elaborates on the outcome in the context of the Joint Legal Opinion.


Lisa Shoman, Attorney/Former Foreign Minister

“The other thing that they say is that, “Well, referendum noh really binding.”  Well sih, when yo start to argue that you start to argue a case that I took to the Privy Council, one of the last cases that went to the Privy Council in fact.  That was the Vellos case.  And what the court said in the Vellos case was that even if referendum are not binding, they’re only consultative and it would seem that that is the case, as to whether a government will obey it or not is a political question and courts will not interfere simply because the courts felt that the people have the remedy in their hand, i.e. Ah noh like weh yo do, ah could vote yo out.  So that that is a real consideration and therefore I would think that the argument as to whether it is binding or not binding is really an academic argument.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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