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Supreme Court of Haiti

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Supreme Court of Haiti (French: Cour de Cassation) is the highest court in the Haitian legal system. The Supreme Court building is located in Port-au-Prince.


From 1806–1817, the Senate of Haiti served judicial functions. The Supreme Court was first formed in 1817 under Petion's 1816 constitution as a body of a grand judge, dean, six judges and a government commissioner, all of whom were to be appointed for life. The first Grand Judge of the Supreme Court was André Dominique Sabourin, who concurrently served as Minister of Justice in Petion's cabinet. Other appointees to the court were:

  • Louis Germain Linard, dean
  • Jacques Ignace Fresnel
  • Jean Thézan,
  • Jean-François Lespinasse,
  • Thomas Gédeon Christ (who was sworn in later),
  • Lemerand
  • Pitre Jeune
  • Louis-Gabriel Audigé, Government Commissioner

Jules Solime Milscent was also appointed as the first clerk.

The Law of 16 July 1954 added a Judge to the eleven provided by the Law of 1918 and since then, the Court of Cassation of Haiti is composed of twelve Judges (including the President and Vice-President), a Government Commissioner, and three substitutes.


The Constitution of Haiti[1] stipulates that Supreme Court justices are appointed by the president from a list submitted by the senate of three persons per court seat.[2] It is unclear whether they are appointed for 10 years (Art. 174 says so) or for life (Art. 177 says so).[3]

Historically the court has frequently reversed its own opinions and its justices have often been replaced. Almost all new governments have a Supreme Court of their own choosing.[4]


The Supreme Court of Haiti interprets and expounds all congressional enactments brought to it in cases, and as such it interprets state law. It also has superseding power over all courts to examine departmental and federal statutes and executive actions, determining whether they conform to the country's Constitution. The Labor Courts and the Land Court are only appealable to the Supreme Court, as opposed to the Juvenile Court and the High Court of Accounts.[5]

If the constitutionality of a law, statute, or an executive action is ruled against by the Supreme Court, its decision can be overcome if the Constitution is amended by the people parliaments or if the Court overrules itself. Decisions by the Court do not pertain to specific cases, rather are intended to encompass interpretation of legislature and executive authority, actually developing the way laws are interpreted. The Cour de Cassation therefore potentially yields the highest power in the Haiti governmental system.[6]

Palais de Justice

The Palais de Justice[7] (the Supreme Court building) was heavily damaged and partially collapsed as a result of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.[8]

Chief Justices of the Supreme Court


  1. ^
  2. ^ Article 175 of the Constitution of Haiti
  3. ^ IBP, Inc. 2015. Haiti Labor Laws and Regulations Handbook – Strategic Information and Basic Laws. p. 15–. ISBN 978-1-329-05813-2.[self-published source]
  4. ^ Irwin P. Stotzky, 1999. Silencing the Guns in Haiti: The Promise of Deliberative Democracy. University of Chicago Press. p. 99. ISBN 978-0-226-77627-9.
  5. ^ IBP, Inc. 2013. Haiti Labor Laws and Regulations Handbook – Strategic Information and Basic Laws. p. 103. ISBN 978-1-4387-7907-2.[self-published source]
  6. ^ Rene Chery, 2011. Women and Children's Tribulation in Haiti. Xlibris Corporation. p. 247. ISBN 978-1-4628-8814-6.
  7. ^ CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, airdate 25 January 2010
  8. ^ Lacey, Marc (24 January 2010). "Cultural Riches Turn to Rubble in Haiti Quake". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  9. ^ a b Cadet, Ruth (1 February 2019). "René Sylvestre prend les rênes de la Cour de Cassation et du CSPJ". Le Nouvelliste (in French).

This page was last edited on 21 April 2020, at 15:33
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