Comparative law and justice/St. Lucia

Part of the Comparative law and justice Wikiversity Project

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Basic Information



  • 160,267 (est. July 2010)
  • 0-14 years old: 24.4% (Male 20,035/Female 19,021)
  • 15-64 years old: 66.4% (Male 51,593/Female 54,843)
  • 65 years old and older: 9.2% (Male 6,668/Female 8,107)


  • Total:616 Sq km
  • Land mass: 606 Sq km
  • Water mass: 10 Sq km


Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and north Atlantic Ocean, north of Saint Vincent & The Grenadines and south of the French Caribbean Island of Martinique.


Tropical, moderated by northeast trade winds; dry season January-April, rainy season May-August


158 km


St. Lucia coastline.


about 80% Roman Catholic


English is the official language but a Saint Lucian Creole French is widely spoken

Ethnic mix

Black (82.6%)
Mixed (11.9%)
Other (3.1%)
East Indian (2.4%)[1]

Blind population-

2,276 (1991 census).

Deaf population-

800 to 8,791. [2]


Education on St. Lucia is free and mandatory between the ages of five and fifteen. The literacy rate of the adult population has been estimated at about 80 percent. There are 83 primary schools and 24 secondary schools, which are similar to junior high schools. Many young people enter the work force after secondary school. Higher education is offered at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College and at a branch of the University of the West Indies.[3]

Brief History


Amerindian settlements of peaceful Arawaks were driven out by more warlike Caribs. Some artefacts and rock drawings have been discovered recently. The island was known as Hewanorra, 'the land of the iguanas' by the earliest settlers.

It is claimed that Columbus 'discovered' St. Lucia on St. Lucy's day (December 13th - the national holiday) in 1502, though evidence suggests he never even visited it.

English settlers in 1605 and 1638 were rebuffed by Caribs, but Spanish or Dutch expeditions may have been there first.

In 1642 St. Lucia was claimed by France and fighting for possession between France and England continued until it became a British Crown Colony in 1814. Changing hands fourteen times, prized for its beauty, St. Lucia became known as the Helen of the West.

Saint Lucia Coast

Settlers who were mainly French developed a plantation economy based on slave labour. There is still a considerable French influence in the local patois (kweole), place names and French colonial style architecture. Today's population is largely of African descent. Eighty per cent are Roman Catholics though most other Christian denominations are represented.

Historically the economy was based on sugar, but since the 1920s bananas, cocoa and coconuts are most significant. Its banana crop accounts for seventy per cent of total exports from the Windward Islands, though the threat of dollar bananas from South America flooding UK markets is leading to some diversification.

Manufacturing industry is now developing with twenty per cent of the work force thus employed. Tourism is a major foreign exchange earner, about 243,000 visitors arrive in St. Lucia every year, with passengers on cruise ships accounting for 102,000 of these visitors.[4]

Economic Development, Health, and Education



General health trends in St. Lucia improved greatly in the 1980s. "Life expectancy increased 4.5 percent from 1981 to 1984, with the average for men and women rising to 72.5 years."[5] "The improvement in infant mortality rates was even more dramatic for the same time period. Infant deaths under 1 year of age fell from 25 per 1,000 live births to 17 per 1,000, representing a decline of 32 percent. The mortality rate for those over the age of 65 was reduced by 23 percent, whereas the overall mortality rate fell by 20 percent.".[6]

Environmental health indicators were also encouraging. Approximately 75 percent of the population had basic sanitation facilities in 1985, and 85 percent of the population had access to piped water. Expansion of waste disposal facilities continued in 1985 and 1986, and government inspection of sewage treatment facilities, food handling businesses, and schools brought corrective action in those areas.[7]





Saint Lucia follows the Westminster-style parliamentary democracy.

"St. Lucia is a parliamentary democracy modeled on the Westminster system. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, represented by a governor general, appointed by the Queen as her representative. The governor general exercises ceremonial functions, but residual powers, under the constitution, can be used at the governor general's discretion. The actual power in St. Lucia lies with the prime minister and the cabinet, usually representing the majority party in parliament." [8]

Principal Government Officials

Head of State--Queen Elizabeth II

Governor General--Dame Pearlette Louisy

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs - Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony

Ambassador to the UN--Chargé Olaf Fontenelle

Ambassador to the United States and the OAS--Michael Louis

Independence: February 22, 1979.

Constitution: 1979.

Branches: Executive--governor general (representing Queen Elizabeth II, head of state), prime minister (head of government), cabinet. Legislative--bicameral parliament. Judicial--district courts, Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (High Court and Court of Appeals), final appeal to Privy Council in London.

Administrative subdivisions: 11 districts

Political parties: United Workers Party (incumbent); St. Lucia Labour Party.

Suffrage: Universal at 18.



"The bicameral parliament consists of a 17-member House of Assembly whose members are elected by universal adult suffrage for 5-year terms and an 11-member senate appointed by the governor general. The parliament may be dissolved by the governor general at any point during its 5-year term, either at the request of the prime minister--in order to take the nation into early elections--or at the governor general's own discretion, if the house passes a vote of no-confidence in the government."[9]

Political Parties in Saint Lucia

The United Workers Party (UWP) was once the dominant force in the politics of St. Lucia. Until 1997, the United Workers Party governed the Saint Lucia for all but three years since their independence. [10]

"The St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) won the first post-independence elections in July 1979, taking 12 of 17 seats in parliament. A period of turbulence ensued, in which squabbling within the party led to several changes of prime minister. Pressure from the private sector and the unions forced the government to resign in 1982. New elections were then called and were won resoundingly by Compton's UWP, which took 14 of 17 seats."[11]

Judicial Review


St. Lucia has an independent judiciary composed of district courts and a high court. Cases may be appealed to the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeals and, ultimately, to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. The island is divided into 10 administrative divisions, including the capital, Castries. Popularly elected local governments in most towns and villages perform such tasks as regulation of sanitation and markets and maintenance of cemeteries and secondary roads. St. Lucia has no army but maintains a coast guard and a paramilitary Special Services Unit within its police force.

Courts and Criminal Law




The punishment implemented for many various crimes throughout Saint Lucia include prison sentences and fines. The country does uses fines and they are usually fit the crime that has been commited.The death penalty does exist in Saint Lucia although there has not been any executions. The imprisonment rates in Saint Lucia is 243 prisoners for every 100,000 people.[12]



The courts in Saint Lucia are based off the Caribbean Court of Justice(CCJ). The CCJ is made up of seven different judges. The Caribbean Court of Justice was formed on February 14, 2001 by the Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice. The agreement was signed by the following ten states: Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago. Then four years later on April 16, 2005 two other states signed the agreement to become part of the CCJ. These two states being Dominica and St. Vincent & The Grenadines.

The superior courts are usually divided into two different groups - High court and Court of Appeal. They are summarily referred to as the Supreme Court. The High Court is where they have trials or court of first instance. "They have original and appellate jurisdiction over matters arising from the inferior courts."[13]They have unlimited jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters.

"The Court of Appeal has the appellate function of the Supreme Court. They hear appeals from the magistrate courts, high courts and special courts." [14]

Law Enforcement


The law enforcement in Saint Lucia is run by the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force(RSLPF). The basic training of RSLPF consists of seven different objectives. The objectives being:

  • Reduce crime, Disordewr and the fear of crime.
  • To enhance effectiveness and efficiency in crime reporting and investigations
  • To enhance the presence of uniformed police officers patrolling communities
  • To strengthen relationships with local communities and stake holders
  • To enhance and improve public satisfaction in policing
  • To create an enviornment to ensure the safety of all road users
  • To ensure that policing is delivered professionally with integrity and accountibility[15]

The Mission Statement of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force

  • To provide a professional policing service and in partnership with all communities to create a safer environment for all people in St. Lucia.


Crime Rates and Public Opinion


In 2007, the homice rate was 16 for every 100,000 people[16]

"St Lucia’s legal system, like most of the other Caribbean countries, is based on the English Common Law, with most of its statute law originating from the United Kingdom. The island’s constitution was drawn up on February 22, 1979, when it gained its independence from the British."[17]

The Court System consists of the Magistrate’s Court, which adjudicates on limited categories of criminal and civil matters and the High Court, which handles major civil and criminal cases. Appeals from both courts go to the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal, which is based here. St Lucia shares a Court of Appeal with other member states of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), called the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court It is presided over by a resident judge under the administration of the Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean and sits in each island two to three times a year.[18]

Click here for full crime statistics



Family Law


Applying for a marriage license in Saint Lucia has a few requirements. Some of these requirements include having your application notarized by the Attorney General. You must also have a passport and a birth certificate. You do not have to live in Saint Lucia to get married there but you do have to be there two days prior to a wedding if you are from another country. If you have been divorced before, you must show proof of the divorce. If you are a widow/widower you are required to show proof of the death certificate. Same sex marriages are not allowed in St. Lucia. You must be at least 16 years old to get married and if you are under 18 years old you must have consent from a parent. Women have full citizenship rights.

Social Inequality


Human Rights


The Human Rights practices in Saint Lucia can be found HERE

There are no classes or categories of people that are discriminated against in the Saint Lucia government. The legal system says a lot about equality. You can really tell by reading the Human rights that everyone is to be treated equal and that everyone gets an equal opportunity.

Works Cited

  13. System
  14. System

Wolfram Mathematica. (2010). Saint Lucia. Retrieved September 23, 2010, from:*C.saint+lucia-_*Country-&buttonstates=%7B%22Cultural+properties%22+-%3E+% 7B%7B1%2C+3%7D%2C+5%2C+6%2C+%22Partial%22+-%3E+5%7D%7D

Lewis, M. Paul (ed.), (2009). Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition. Retrieved September 23, 2010, from:

Every Culture, (2010). St. Lucians. Retrieved September 28, 2010, from:

US Library of Congress, (2008). Health and Welfare. Retrieved October 1, 2010, from:

Travel Document Systems, (2009). Saint Lucia North American Government. Retrieved October 8, 2010, from:

International Centre for Prison Studies, (2003). Prisioners per Capita. Retrieved December 6, 2010, from: