Attorneys for former member of the Industrial Court Sam Maharaj and those representing the State for the late Prime Minister Patrick Manning and his Cabinet are to advance arguments on whether Maharaj would have been reappointed to the court, having won his judicial review claim before the question of compensation is dealt with.
At a brief hearing before Justice Frank Seepersad in the Port of Spain High Court yesterday, attorneys for both sides agreed the first issue to be determined was whether an assessment for compensation was required, as it would be contingent on whether Maharaj would have been reappointed to the court.
The matter has been adjourned to December 5.
In December 2016, five months after Manning’s death, the London-based Privy Council delivered a ruling in favour of Maharaj and sent his case back to the High Court to determine compensation.
Maharaj, a former general secretary of the All Trinidad Sugar and General Workers Trade Union, took his fight to the Privy Council seeking to be compensated over the refusal of the Manning Cabinet to renew his contract as an industrial court member in 2000.
The then-labour minister was reported to have told Cabinet that Maharaj could neither “write, read nor speak properly and was not suited to be a member of the Industrial Court.” The Cabinet, acting on this representation, declined to reappoint Maharaj.
The Court of Appeal, in December 2014, ruled in Maharaj’s favour in his lawsuit against Manning and his Cabinet, but no compensation was awarded.
Maharaj, now 82, first brought the judicial-review action in January 2004, but the decision was only delivered in 2012, eight years after the trial, since the judge who heard the claim retired in 2008.
Maharaj was appointed to the Industrial Court on November 17, 2000 for three years.
He is represented by Senior Counsel Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, while Martin Daly, SC, appeared for Manning, who is still named as the defendant in the case.