Trinidad and Tobago lawyers to debate resolution calling on chief justice to resign

Trinidad and Tobago lawyers to debate resolution calling on chief justice to resign


Chief Justice Ivor Archie

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — The Law Association in Trinidad and Tobago will debate a resolution calling for the resignation of the chief justice and members of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC) at a special general meeting on June 1 over the appointment and subsequent resignation of former chief magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar as a high court judge.

The meeting was prompted by a petition signed by over 60 local attorneys expressing a loss of confidence in Chief Justice Ivor Archie and the JLSC over the situation that arose after Ayers-Caesar was appointed as a high court judge without due consideration being given to her extensive list of part-heard cases in the magistrates court.

The lawyers say that the CJ and the JLSC should have had knowledge and access to any information on any part-heard matters before the chief magistrate and was under an obligation to provide the information to the JLSC before her appointment was made.

That view is shared by 11 senior counsel who met last Friday and subsequently issued a list of questions for the chief justice and the JLSC as well as Ayers-Caesar to answer, the Trinidad Guardian reported.

Local criminal lawyer Nizam Mohammed, who has been in practice for more than four decades, said the country had found itself in “the most unfortunate situation whereby all the part-heard matters left by Ayers-Caesar will have to be heard de novo – as new – and in such a development you cannot rule out a series of challenges on the basis of abuse of process by the court administration itself, meaning the judiciary and the magistracy.”

He said it is only when that happens “that we will understand how messy this situation is… This mess is unfathomable.”