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Thursday 16 August 2018
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Law Assn replaces JLSC

A LAST-MINUTE substitution of defendant prevented an early collapse of the Attorney General’s interpretation summons which seeks to have the court determine whether judges are entitled to sabbatical leave.

The Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC) was named as the lone defendant in the application being heard by Justice James Aboud, but attorneys for the AG yesterday sought to have the body substituted by the Law Association (LATT).

There were no objections after lead counsel for the AG, Rolston Nelson, SC, explained that the JLSC is a disciplinary body that has nothing to do with the terms and conditions of judges’ salaries and remuneration.

LATT president Douglas Mendes, SC, said the association was sympathetic to the State’s position and mindful of its statutory function to support an independent Bench. He said the LATT was willing to be made a defendant so the matter can go forward.

Mendes, however, had one stipulation, that no order for costs be made against the LATT at the end of the matter or on appeal. Nelson accepted this, saying it was not a controversial type of action and it was not likely the AG will seek costs from the association. It was also agreed that the judges of the Supreme Court, who are represented by a team of attorneys led by Russell Martineau, SC, will be an interested party to the proceedings and will be allowed to make submissions.

Aboud set short time-lines for the attorneys to follow ahead of the trial date on July 31. AG Faris Al-Rawi was instructed by the Prime Minister to take steps to clarify whether there exists any such leave for members of the judiciary, after Chief Justice Ivor Archie applied for sabbatical leave before changing it to vacation leave when controversy arose as to whether he was in fact entitled to take a sabbatical.

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