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HomeEvents / VideoJustice Jacob Wit retires from CCJ

Justice Jacob Wit retires from CCJ

By Caribbean News Global contributor

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on January 11, 2024, advised of the retirement of CCJ Judge, Justice Jacob Wit, on the grounds of ill health.

“Justice Wit was a member of the Court’s inaugural Bench in 2005 and served faithfully for 18 years; however, since October 2023, his health has been impacted,” the court said in a statement.

In commenting on Justice Wit’s retirement, the CCJ president, Justice Adrian Saunders, indicated that “this is a sad day for the Court, especially since Justice Wit and I formed part of the inaugural bench of the court. He was the lone Civil Law Judge on the current CCJ bench with rich experience in military law, administrative law, constitutional law, and international human rights law. His involvement with the CCJ Academy for Law and his role in coordinating the Academy’s most recent biennial conference and regional town hall focusing on crime are recognised and deeply appreciated. I will certainly miss him and his contributions.”

“The entire court extends best wishes to Justice Wit and is hopeful that he recovers and enjoys his retirement, after a long and meritorious career which spanned close to five decades,” the statement said.

Justice Jacob Wit

Justice Wit studied law from 1971 to 1977 at the Vrije Universiteit (Free University) of Amsterdam, from which he took the degree of Meester in de Rechten (Master of Laws) with honours. After completing his military service (1976-1978) as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Dutch Navy, he was admitted in March 1978 as a Judicial Trainee at the Studiecentrum Rechtspleging (Training and Study Centre for the Judiciary) in Zutphen, the Netherlands, where he remained enrolled until 1984.

During this period, he held the posts of Griffier (Law Clerk) in the Rotterdam District Court, Rotterdam, (1978-1980) and plaatsvervangend Officier van Justitie (Deputy Prosecutor) at the Amsterdam District Court (1980- 982) and worked as an advocaat (attorney-at-law) with the Law Firm of Van Doorne & Sjollema in Rotterdam (1982-1984).

Justice Wit was appointed by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands as Deputy Judge of the Rotterdam District Court in January 1984, Judge of the Rotterdam District Court in March 1985, and Judge of the Joint Court of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba on 1 October 1986. This Court consists of several Courts of First Instance (Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and the so-called BES islands) and a Court of Appeal.

Between 1986 to 2005, Justice Wit presided over or sat in the Court of Appeal, but mainly presided in the Courts of First Instance. Over this period, he had acquired significant expertise in various posts within the Joint Court of Justice system: Coordinating Judge, Court of First Instance, Curaçao (1993-1996); Coordinator Judge of Instruction, Netherlands Antilles (1994-1997); Coordinating Judge for the Dutch Windward Islands of Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius, and Saba (1997-2001); and from 2001 to 2005 as Senior Judge and Acting President of the Court.

Justice Jacob Wit took the Oath of Office as a Judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) at The President’s House, Port of Spain, on Wednesday 1 June 2005. In November 2010,  Justice Wit was appointed and sworn in as the President of the Constitutional Court of St Maarten, a part-time function. He was the lone Civil Law Judge on the CCJ Bench.

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