Tuesday 7 July, 2020

Archie slams report calling for diversity in judicial appointments

Chief Justice Ivor Archie has criticised a report of the Committee of Judicial appointments, which made several recommendations including a call for diversity in judicial appointments.

Speaking during the opening of the 2018-2019 Law Term on Monday, Archie said he was made aware of the recent report of the Law Association on judicial appointments and while it contains some helpful observations, he is unable to agree with several of its assumptions.

According to the Chief Justice, the report on judicial appointments, without comment or justification, purported to assign ethnicities to the various members of the bench.

Archie said it was based on committee observations, which is neither useful or scientific.

“One is also not entirely sure from the report whether other concerns about diversity surround sex or gender, which are of course different concepts but again I venture to suggest that, at the High Court Level there is no shortage of females while the Appellate Bench simply reflects past historical trends for entry into the profession and not any bias in the appointment process given the length of experience required to become an Appellate Judge,” he said.

Archie concluded that the report contained nothing new.

“While I am in agreement with some of the observations of the LATT Committee and disagree with several, nothing contained therein is new. What we suffer from in this country is an implementation deficit and an under-resourced judiciary and JLSC, plain and simple.”

Meanwhile, Law Association President Douglas Mendes has responded to the Chief Justice.

Speaking with reporters following the opening of the 2018-2019 Law Term, Mendes said he was delighted that the Chief Justice spoke about the report on judicial appointments.

The Law Association President said he views it as a positive development.

He also weighed in on the Chief Justice’s criticism, saying it comes with the territory.

 “I look at it this way, if you stand above the crowd and people see you standing above the crowd then you tend to be a target, so if the Law Association decides it is going to make comments that pertain to the Judiciary and the Judiciary doesn’t like it or the Attorney General doesn’t like it, or whoever doesn’t like it, then where’re going to be a target.”

 

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