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St Helena Court of Appeal Judgments

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St Helena Court of Appeal Judgments

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The Islands of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha comprise an internally self-governing Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom. Within the territory, there are three separate, but intricately-related, legal systems. The information provided here, and in the links, relates specifically to St. Helena.

St. Helena has its own legislature, empowered to make laws known as Ordinances. Many of the Ordinances enable an authority (for example, the Governor in Council) to make detailed 'secondary legislation' in the form of Rules, Regulations, or Orders. It is these Ordinances, and their associated secondary legislation, to which this page provides links: Laws

All of these 'local laws' are made under the authority of St Helena's Constitution, which is found in an Order in Council made under the Saint Helena Act, 1833. This is because ultimate legislative and executive authority for the British Overseas Territories resides in the British Crown. The Saint Helena Act can be found at Saint Helena Act; the Order in Council is at The St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Constitution Order 2009.

Courts: Most civil and criminal cases are dealt with in the Magistrates' Court, established under the Magistrates' Court Ordinance 2011 Magistrates-Court-Ordinance-New. But that Court has no jurisdiction in matrimonial cases (divorce/nullity of marriage), probate (administration of the estates of deceased persons), or indeed any other area which is not specifically mentioned in the Ordinance. All matters which are not able to be dealt with in the Magistrates' Court are the province of the Supreme Court, which is established by section 82 of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court also hears appeals against the decisions of the Magistrates' Court. Section 86 of the Constitution establishes a Court of Appeal, which determines appeals against decisions of the Supreme Court; and there is a final appeal (in limited circumstances) to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.

There is also a mechanism for the investigation of sudden or suspicious deaths, in which decisions are made by Coroners.

The judges of the superior courts (Supreme Court and Court of Appeal) are appointed by the Governor, acting on instructions from a Secretary of State acting on behalf of the Queen. They can only be removed on grounds of inability or misconduct, and only after investigation by a specially-constituted tribunal of three members, at least two of whom must be serving or former judges of a superior court in some part of the Commonwealth or Ireland.

The judges of the subordinate courts are appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission ('JSC') constituted by section 94 of the Constitution. They can only be removed on grounds of inability or misconduct, and only if the JSC has recommended removal.

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