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 Law Association Members to Decide Whether to Challenge PM’s Decision not to Move on CJ

Law Association Members to Decide Whether to Challenge PM’s Decision not to Move on CJ

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THE Council of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) is leaving it up to its membership to decide if it wants to challenge the decision of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley not to reconsider implementing impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Ivor Archie.

In a letter to its members on Sunday, LATT explained the ruling of Justice Vasheist Kokaram who said there was no place for politics in matters relating to Section 137 of the Trinidad and Tobago Constitution that deals with impeachment proceedings of the Chief Justice.

LATT stated that by a February 27 letter, the Prime Minister “informed that, at the direction of Justice Kokaram, he had reconsidered his original decision not to initiate impeachment proceedings against the Honourable Chief Justice in light of the findings and statements made by Justice Kokaram in his judgment, had done so with an open mind and without regard to any political or other motivation on the part of the Association, but decided not to make a representation to the President under section 137 of the Constitution for the reasons which were fully set out in his original decision letter.”

LATT said a meeting of its executive was called on February 29.

It stated, “Council received their oral advice that the chances of success on an appeal against Justice Kokaram’s findings – that it was reasonable for the Prime Minister to view the Chief Justice’s conduct as amounting to an error of judgment but not sufficient to warrant removal – were not good, largely for the reasons given by Senior Counsel Christopher Hamel-Smith and his team prior to the commencement of these proceedings.

“The Council by a majority resolved not to appeal against Justice Kokaram’s decision or to launch a fresh challenge against the Prime Minister’s reconsideration decision.”

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LATT stated, “Council did not think that it had the membership’s mandate to take any further action because one of the considerations which led to the decision to commence judicial review proceedings was the Prime Minister’s clear statement that he had taken into account what he thought, wrongly, to be the political motivations of the Association.

“The Association having been successful on that point, and the Prime Minister having claimed to have come to his reconsideration decision with an open mind, that issue was no longer to be taken into consideration.

“Contrary to the blaring headline in the Sunday Guardian today, the Council is not in uproar. The debate was conducted with utmost calm and mutual respect.”

It then referred to the provisions of Rule 23(1) of Part A of the First Schedule to the Legal Profession Act Chap 90:03.

It stated that this provision provided “for the calling of a Special General Meeting to conduct any business the requisitioners think fit, including in this instance a direction to Council to appeal and/or to challenge the Prime Minister’s reconsideration decision. Members are further reminded that any appeal must be brought on or before the April 1, 2020.”

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