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Law Association Sues PM on CJ Matter

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THE Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) has filed a judicial review application against a decision of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley not to launch an investigation into allegations of misconduct against Chief Justice Ivor Archie.

The LATT is seek­ing a se­ries of de­c­la­ra­tions over Row­ley’s han­dling of a re­port, which rec­om­mend­ed that he ex­er­cise his dis­cre­tion un­der Sec­tion 137 of the Con­sti­tu­tion to ad­vise the Pres­i­dent to in­ves­ti­gate the al­le­ga­tions by com­menc­ing im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings against Archie.

It wants the court to declare that Row­ley’s de­ci­sion was il­le­gal, ir­ra­tional, un­rea­son­able and was made in bad faith.

The LATT also stated that Row­ley’s de­ci­sion was not made in the per­for­mance of his con­sti­tu­tion­al func­tions in the pub­lic in­ter­est and that he took in­to ac­count ir­rel­e­vant con­sid­er­a­tions.

It is seek­ing an or­der quash­ing the de­ci­sion and an­oth­er com­pelling Row­ley to re­con­sid­er it.

In the le­gal doc­u­ments, the as­so­ci­a­tion’s lawyers sought to give a brief out­line of the his­to­ry of its in­volve­ment with the al­le­ga­tions against Archie. It also detailed Row­ley’s de­ci­sion and his sub­se­quent com­ments on the is­sue.

The LATT also criticizes Rowley for his statement that the law suit was political in that it was fueled by a group on United National Congress (UNC) lawyers within the association.

It stated that these claims were in di­rect con­tra­dic­tion to an as­sess­ment of the al­le­ga­tions by the Court of Ap­peal and the Privy Coun­cil when they dis­missed Archie’s le­gal chal­lenge over the as­so­ci­a­tion’s probe.

The legal papers stated, “Giv­en his sub­jec­tive views on the na­ture and pur­pose of the Ap­pli­cant’s Com­mit­tee re­port as set out above, the Prime Min­is­ter was not ca­pa­ble of prop­er­ly and fair­ly de­ter­min­ing the ques­tion be­fore him in the ex­er­cise of a con­sti­tu­tion­al func­tion in the pub­lic in­ter­est.

“Rather, he was more con­cerned to shut down what he con­sid­ered to be the im­prop­er ac­tion of the Ap­pli­cant act­ing at the al­leged be­hest of the UNC and there­by act­ed for an im­prop­er pur­pose or mo­tive and/or his de­ci­sion is vi­ti­at­ed by ap­par­ent bias.”

The as­so­ci­a­tion is be­ing rep­re­sent­ed by Dr Lloyd Bar­nett, Elaine Green, Rishi Dass, Kiel Tak­lals­ingh, Kirk Ben­gochea, and Im­ran Ali.

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