Appointing Senior Counsel – wrong priority, wrong approach

Depending on the background and interest of who one asks, their responses to identify the principal challenges facing the legal system could include the length of time cases take to conclude; the non-pursuit of cases because the victims don’t want to proceed; the unscrupulousness of some lawyers, especially when dealing with “vulnerable” clients; for groups who deal with women and child victims of violence, the willingness of many lawyers to defend their client by subjecting the victim to a second abuse; and access to justice.

Those with a greater familiarity with the legal system may identify the thousands of cases still to be scheduled for hearing by the courts (a case of justice delayed being justice denied); the non-functioning of the Judicial Service Commission, charged by the Constitution with responsibility to make recommendations on the appointment of judges and for the appointment, discipline and removal of the majority of senior judicial officers; the inordinate delay by some judges in providing written decisions despite the passage of legislation to remedy this mischief; the quality of submissions by attorneys and the resulting quality of the decisions by the courts; and misconduct by attorneys at law – senior and junior – including the egregious violations of the code of practice for attorneys prescribed by law.
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It is the President’s duty alone to appoint three members of the Judicial Service Commission

Mr Anil Nandlall, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs needs to take his own advice to the media to “exercise care in what is published” (‘President consulting on appointments to JSC, other commissions –AG,’ SN, March 18). In seeking to divert blame from himself for failing to advise the President on his duty to appoint the Judicial Service Commission, Mr Nandlall blamed the National Assembly for failing to initiate the process for nominating members with respect to the commission.

There is at least one of three explanations for the almost continuous stream of statements earning Mr Nandlall some unfavourable attention: he is careless about details, as he was in relation to the Council of Legal Education necessitating a correction by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies; he is cavalier about the constitution and the law, as in his statement that he has to issue an Assent Certificate to Bills passed by the National Assembly; or he is mischievous and obfuscatory, as in this case.
Continue reading It is the President’s duty alone to appoint three members of the Judicial Service Commission