Retired Justice of Appeal Andre des Vignes has died.
His death was mourned by chair of the Catholic Commission for Social Justice Leela Ramdeen and many others on Monday.
The cause of death was not confirmed up to late evening. Des Vignes retired from the Judiciary in 2019.
Ramdeen acknowledged his death with “profound sadness and a heavy heart.”
“Andre was a member of CCSJ from its inception in 2003 and played a key role in assisting the fledgling team to develop our vision, mission, core values, and various committees.”
She said he worked with the CCSJ in the past year to develop and implement a virtual legal aid clinic and committed to working with the organisation on a monthly basis to provide pro bono advice to those who accessed the clinic.
“For all the years that I have known Andre, he has always exuded the kind of qualities that should underpin all our lives. Firstly, he was a man of deep abiding Faith; a compassionate man who was committed to the promotion of justice; a man of integrity; a humble, gentle and righteous man whose amazing intellect and lofty positions did not lead him to forget about the needs of the less fortunate. He was totally dedicated to his family.”
Des Vignes was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2017 after becoming a puisne judge in 2009, 29 years after being admitted to the bar.
He began his early practice as a solicitor of the Supreme Court in October 1979 and immediately joined the litigation department of a leading law firm in Port of Spain. During his time at this law firm, he was a solicitor and later (after fusion of the law professions) advocate attorney of civil, corporate and commercial litigation and industrial relations. He then opened his own law chambers in April 1997.
He was also chairman of the Judiciary’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) pilot project monitoring committee from April 2012 to December 2014 and served as a member of the ADR implementation committee.
In 2013, he became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators of the United Kingdom and a year later completed training in the fundamentals of family and divorce mediation. Later, in September 2015, he was certified as a judicial trainer by the University College of London Faculty of Law Judicial Institute.
When he was elevated to the appellate court, des Vignes was described as “a hard worker, and a good listener” by his colleagues.