The Laws of Saint Lucia were last revised in 1957 – (nearly forty years ago) – in accordance with the Laws of Saint Lucia (Reform and Revision) Ordinance, (No. 21 of 1954) and are contained in the 1957 Revised Edition of the Laws of Saint Lucia comprising six volumes.

Since the last revision several written laws, have been passed. These written laws include new Acts (dealing with new legislation) and amendments to existing Acts and Subsidiary Legislation.

With the accretion of amendments over the years to the existing Acts and Subsidiary Legislation, the laws have become inaccessible since they have to be assimilated and read in the light of the amendments made thereto.

The Government of Saint Lucia therefore views with deep concern the accumulation, year after year, of this mass of unassimilated legislation resulting in the increasing inaccessibility of the laws. After every general revision then, with the passage of time, the need arises to produce a New Revised Edition, which will contain all the extant laws revised and updated to a particular date (i.e. the revision date) thus reflecting the existing status of those laws at the date.

The need and justification of the revision of the laws can also be found in the light of Government’s policy with respect to local and foreign investment (i.e. the updating of taxation and investment legislation) and the urgency to update the criminal law and the law of treaties to deal with the growing menace of drug trafficking and money laundering. Equally important on the domestic level is the urgent need to update the laws relating to human rights, tourism, the environment, intellectual property, the family and the social services.

Thus the revision is of cardinal importance to the administration of justice.

In a free and democratic society the laws should be made readily accessible if they are to properly serve the needs of Parliament, the Courts, Judicial and Legal Officers in the Service, the Legal Profession and the general public, in a more efficient manner than the assented copies of the written laws contained in Annual Volumes.

The Agreement to be signed shortly sets up a framework within which the needs of the justice sector, government and the general public for easily accessible laws will be met.

Under this Agreement, Eyre and Spottiswoode undertakes to:

1. create an electronic database of all the existing laws of Saint Lucia;

2. within three [3] years, revise, proof, print and publish the Revised Laws in accordance with certain agreed specifications;

3. within the term ten [10] years to publish and print a maximum of seven annual editions of the Law Revision Supplement.

This will ensure not only the revised edition of the laws will be available in three years time, but also that the process of supplementation will be addressed in the ensuing years.

The approach to addressing these tasks is via the creation of a Law Revision Centre in Saint Lucia to be overseen by a Managing Lawyer and comprised of at least two to three other persons in the short term. It is envisaged that this Centre will attract law revision, and legal publishing assignments from the OECS and the wider region and over time evolve into a truly regional firm of law publishers.

The value of such an enterprise to the legal profession, the justice sector and indeed, the wider Saint Lucian community is too obvious to need stating.