May 26, 2022

Privy Council orders Trinidad chief justice to pay legal costs

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From Caribbean News Now

LONDON, England — Trinidad and Tobago Chief Justice Ivor Archie has been ordered to pay the legal costs incurred by the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) in defending the unsuccessful action brought against it by Archie in relation to its ongoing investigation into misconduct allegations against him.

On Friday, some two months after the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London dismissed an appeal from a lower court ruling also rejecting Archie’s challenge to the association’s inquiry into his conduct, a further order was granted requiring Archie to pay the costs involved.

In written submissions on the issue, Archie’s lawyers asserted that, as the case raised public interest concerns, he should not be required to pay the respondent’s costs. However, the Privy Council agreed with the LATT that the appeal was for Archie’s personal benefit and not in the public interest.

In November last year, the council of the LATT appointed a sub-committee to investigate various allegations of misconduct against Archie and retained Dr Francis Alexis QC of Grenada and Eamon Courtenay QC of Belize to determine if the allegations were sufficient to trigger impeachment proceedings under S137 of the Trinidad and Tobago constitution.

Under the section, the country’s president appoints a tribunal after misconduct allegations against a sitting judge are referred by the prime minister.

The tribunal, which would include a chairman and at least two other members, all with judicial appellate experience in Commonwealth jurisdictions, will then investigate. The tribunal reports to the Privy Council, which then gives the president recommendations on what action, if any, should be taken.

The LATT inquiry came to a halt in March after Archie obtained a high court injunction blocking the probe. The injunction was overturned by three of his colleagues in the court of appeal and their decision was upheld by the Privy Council in August.

Last week, LATT president, Douglas Mendes SC, confirmed that the long awaited advice from Alexis and Courtenay is expected to be received this week.

IMAGE: Chief Justice Ivor Archie
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