Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 25th 2017 Contents 'JLSC flawed for almost a decade'
RHONDA KRYSTAL RAMBALLY
The Judiciary has again come under scru-
tiny, this time as an attorney who was given
a letter of appointment to serve as a judge in
2009 but was never sworn in by the President
has made an application against the Registrar
of the Supreme Court and the Law Association
of T&T (Latt).
The attorney received her letter of appointment
to serve in the High Court in August 2009 but Sun-
day Guardian understands that even though she
was expected to sit as a judge from September that
year, had a court list prepared and a swearing-in
ceremony scheduled at President's House, it never
materialised. No reason has ever been given.
She never took the oath of office and never as-
sumed the duties of a judge. To date, there is no
evidence that her appointment has been revoked.
As a direct consequence of those events, she ex-
perienced difficulty paying her annual fees to the
Latt as required under the Legal Profession Act and
has been unable to obtain a practising certificate
for several years.
The woman filed an application in the High
Court in early June under Section 25 of the Legal
Profession Act for the practising certificate. Her
matter will be heard on Wednesday at 10:15 am
before Justice James Aboud.
Sunday Guardian obtained a copy of the June
14 supplemental affidavit in which the attorney
makes reference to the principal affidavit dated
June 7 where she stated she exhibited her letter of
appointment and that it was "always my under-
standing that my appointment was a for a period
of six months only"
She further stated that she ceased practice to
assume office from mid-September 2009 and at
the end of October 2009, some six weeks later,
she resumed full-time practice which continued
from 2009 to 2011 and to the current time. She
said she held a valid practising certificate from
2009 to 2011.
A legal source told the Sunday Guardian that once
an attorney does not hold a practising certificate
for a period of one year , an application has to be
filed before the High Court and a judge has to issue
an order for the practising certificate, provided
that the judge is satisfied that all fees due to the
Law Association have been paid and a reasonable
explanation has been proffered for the failure to
pay the fees within the requisite time.
However, the source said if on Wednesday the
judge is not satisfied and doesn't issue the prac-
tising certificate, "then just like Mrs Marcia Ay-
ers-Caesar, the attorney will be in limbo since she
would not be a judge nor able to practice law"
The Sunday Guardian understands that no formal
notification was ever issued to her to indicate that
her appointment had been revoked. Court protocol
and information manager at the Judiciary, Alicia
Carter-Fisher did not respond to questions sent
via email. Chief Justice Ivor Archie, as head of the
Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC, did
not respond to a text message sent last evening.
Latt president Douglas Mendes did not respond
to calls to his mobile.
In April this year, three judicial officers were el-
evated to the High Court---former chief magistrate
Marcia Ayers-Caesar, magistrate Avason Quinlan
and attorney Kevin Ramcharan.
To qualify for appointment as a High Court judge,
a candidate should have at least ten years' standing
as an attorney.
JLSC flawed for almost a decade
Several legal luminaries told the Sunday Guard-
ian that a closer look at the situation showed how
Judiciary comes under scrutiny again
guardian.co.tt Sunday, June 25, 2017
flawed the JLSC selection process has
been for close to a decade.
One legal source said, "In addition to
this attorney's situation, the JLSC had
also tried to elevate magistrate Lucena
Cardenas-Ragoonanan as a temporary
judge but the Law Association voiced con-
cerns over her alleged friendship with the
Manning's and her appearances at various
PNM events. She was not appointed."
A leading member of the inner bar said
a question that has to be raised is what
steps the JLSC implemented to bolster
its selection process since 2009 and why
in the face of Mrs Marcia Ayers-Caesar
there was no staying of her appointment
after Gerald Ramdeen raised concerns.
"One would have, in those circumstanc-
es, expected that the prudent course of ac-
tion would have been to defer the swearing
in just as happened with the attorney and
magistrate Ragoonanan, while a thorough
review as to the state of her part heard
matters were investigated."
Another legal source said citizens de-
serve a truly robust and independent se-
lection process by virtue of which only the
most competent persons were elevated.
Continues on Page A10
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