I.   Commonwealth Jurisdiction


An appeal lies from the undermentioned countries of which the Queen is Head of  State and from UK overseas territories as follows.

  1. By leave of the local Court of Appeal. The circumstances in which leave can be granted will depend on the law of the country or territory concerned. Leave can usually be obtained as of right from final judgments in civil disputes where the value of the dispute is more than a stated amount and in cases which involve issues of constitutional interpretation. Most Courts of Appeal also have discretion to grant leave in other civil cases.

  2. By special leave of Her Majesty in Council. The Judicial Committee has complete discretion whether to grant special leave. It is mostly granted in criminal cases (where leave cannot usually be granted by the Court of Appeal) but it is sometimes granted in civil cases where the local Court of Appeal has for any reason refused leave.

Antigua and Barbuda, New Zealand*
Bahamas, St. Christopher and Nevis
Barbados, Saint Lucia
Belize, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Grenada, Tuvalu

* In October 2003 New Zealand legislated to abolish appeals to the Privy Council in respect of all cases heard by the Court of Appeal of New Zealand after the end of 2003.


The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (in Cyprus)

The United Kingdom Overseas Territories, which include -
Anguilla, Gibraltar
Bermuda, Montserrat
British Virgin Islands, St. Helena and dependencies
Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands
Falkland Islands



An appeal lies from the Court of Appeal of Brunei to the Sultan and Yang di-Pertuan, in civil cases only. By agreement between Her Majesty and the Sultan these appeals are heard by the Judicial Committee who report their opinion to him instead of to Her Majesty.



From the following independent republics within the Commonwealth an appeal lies to the Judicial Committee itself.

  1. The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
  2. The Commonwealth of Dominica
  3. Kiribati
  4. Mauritius

The circumstances in which appeals may be brought are similar to those in which appeals lie to Her Majesty in Council (see A above), except that from Kiribati an appeal lies only in cases where it is alleged that certain constitutional rights of any Banaban or of the Rabi Council have been or are likely to be infringed.


II.   Domestic Jurisdictions

  1. The Board hears appeals to Her Majesty in Council:
    1. From Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
    2. From the Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
    3. Against certain Schemes of the Church Commissioners under the Pastoral Measure 1983

  2. The Judicial Committee has jurisdiction to hear and determine "devolution issues", that is questions relating to the powers and functions of the legislative and executive authorities established in Scotland and Northern Ireland by the Scotland Act 1998 and the Northern Ireland Act 1998, respectively, and questions as to the competence and functions of the Assembly established by the Government of Wales Act 1998. Such cases can reach the Judicial Committee in four ways.

    1. A law officer may refer the question whether a Bill, or any provision of a Bill, of the Scottish Parliament or Northern Ireland Assembly is within the competence of the Parliament or the Assembly respectively, to be heard in the Judicial Committee as a court of first instance.

    2. On appeal from certain superior courts of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland;
    3. Devolution issues can be referred to the Judicial Committee by -
      1. certain appellate courts, including the House of Lords,and
      2. any court or tribunal, if required to do so by the appropriate Law Officer;
    4. Law Officers can refer to the Judicial Committee devolution issues references by Law Officers to the Judicia that are not the subject of current legislation or litigation.

    When exercising this jurisdiction the board may consist only of members of the Judicial Committee who hold or have held high judicial office in the United Kingdom.

  3. The Board also has the following rarely used jurisdictions:
    1. Appeals from the Arches Court of Canterbury and the Chancery Court of York in non-doctrinal faculty causes.
    2. Appeals from Prize Courts.
    3. Disputes under the House of Commons Disqualification Act.
    4. Appeals from the Court of Admiralty of the Cinque Ports
  4. Her Majesty has the power to refer any matter to the Board for "consideration and report" under  No.4 of the Judicial Committee Act 1833.


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