Retired judge remembered by colleagues, NGOs as 'friend, mentor'

Retired Justice Andre des Vignes
Retired Justice Andre des Vignes

TRIBUTES continue to pour in for retired judge Andre des Vignes, who died earlier this week.

On Tuesday, Chief Justice Ivor Archie, judges and other members of the Judiciary paid tribute to des Vignes, expressing “great sadness and a deep sense of loss” at his death.

He was described as a colleague, friend, mentor and dedicated team member.

Des Vignes, who retired as a judge of the Appeal Court in 2019, was 66 and the father of three.

The Judiciary said he came to the organisation after 29 distinguished years in practice as a solicitor and advocate attorney.

The statement said des Vignes gave yeoman service not only as a judge in the High Court and Court of Appeal but was also a member of the Judiciary’s Judicial Education Institute and leader of its civil mediation pilot programme. He also served as chairman of the judicial research assistants’ committee.

“His judgments, many of which are of landmark import, were known for their clarity and display of superior legal acumen.”

Des Vignes was also remembered for his kindness, humility, engaging manner and being a man of his word.

Des Vignes was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2017 after becoming a puisne judge in 2009. He was also chairman of the Judiciary’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) pilot project monitoring committee from April 2012-December 2014 and served as a member of the ADR implementation committee.

Also paying tribute was Dialogue Solutions, a dispute resolution group led by Senior Counsel Reginald Armour.

Armour, chairman of the group, said des Vignes – or “Andre” as they knew him – was an exemplary human being, family person, lawyer and judge.

“He was an outstanding mediator who undertook and successfully brought to resolution myriad disputes employing his considerable mediation skills.

“He applied those qualities which made him unique and exemplary: humility, compassion and incomparable emotional intelligence.”

Armour said des Vignes led by “sterling example” and defined the role the Judiciary played then and hopefully will recommit to, in resolving disputes through the process of mediation.

“Dialogue Solutions pays tribute to his pioneering work in the field of mediation,” Armour said as he sent condolences to des Vignes’ widow Wendy and children Francois, Solange and Cecile and his wider family.

“Andre, the honourable Mr Justice des Vignes, will be deeply missed in very many respects,” said Armour.

Also paying tribute were the many non-governmental organisations he was involved with.

On Monday, mourning his death was chair of the Catholic Commission for Social Justice Leela Ramdeen.

“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.”

On Tuesday, the Companions of the Transfigured Christ (CTC) also paid tribute in a social media post.

“To so many, you were respectfully and professionally known as Justice Andre des Vignes.

“To us, you were just our dear friend Andre. You were the real-life representation of all that our community teaches, encourages and works for about fatherhood and family life. You were the ‘real dad’ and truly a second chance father.”

The CTC said its members were “immeasurably blessed” to have him as a mentor and counsel.

“Our lives and our ministry have been completely changed by your friendship and your presence. We will miss you Andre…you are the definition of a good man.”

The Foundation for Human Development also remembered the late judge for his “dedication and contribution.”

Funeral arrangements have not yet been finalised.


"Retired judge remembered by colleagues, NGOs as ‘friend, mentor’"

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