On July 5, 2022, Antigua and Barbuda’s High Court of Justice declared laws which criminalize consensual, private, same-sex intimacy between adults to be unconstitutional. With this landmark decision, Antigua and Barbuda becomes the first country in the Eastern Caribbean to strike down its “buggery and serious indecency laws” as unconstitutional.
WeirFoulds LLP and Partner Nadia Chiesa have supported this Constitutional challenge since it was launched by the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE) in 2020. This case is part of ECADE’s five-country legal challenge to laws deemed unconstitutional and an impediment to the human rights and dignity of the region’s LGBTQ+ community.
Nadia Chiesa and WeirFoulds LLP worked as part of a team of lawyers from across the Caribbean dedicated to social justice, including Douglas Mendes SC, Andrew O’Kola, and Veronica S.P. Cenac, as well as the Faculty of Law UWI Rights Advocacy Project, to support ECADE in this litigation.
“We’re proud of the outcome of this long process to ensure the recognition and protection of the Constitutional rights of members of the LGBTQ community in Antigua and Barbuda,” said Nadia Chiesa, Chair of WeirFoulds LLP’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group and a Partner in the Caribbean Practice Group. “Although there is still much work to be done to protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination, this is a crucial step in protecting their right to equal treatment under the law. We recognize and thank the litigants and ECADE for their fearlessness and dedication to fighting for the rights of the LGBTQ community in the Caribbean.”
A dedicated partner of the communities it serves, WeirFoulds LLP has a long-standing commitment to upholding access to justice and giving back to the community. In an initiative spearheaded by Nadia Chiesa, the firm provides pro bono human rights litigation services throughout the Caribbean, which are critical in assisting Constitutional challenges to existing legislation which offends fundamental rights as defined under international law.
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To learn more about our Caribbean Practice Group as well as our Commercial Litigation Practice Group, or to contact one of our lawyers, visit our Caribbean and Commercial Litigation overview pages.