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Mar 20, 2020

CJ Kenneth Benjamin Retires; Who Takes Up the Post?

Michelle Arana

Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has retired from the Judiciary, having reached the mandatory retirement age of sixty-five years on Thursday.  This leaves the post vacant.  When News Five contacted Attorney General Mike Peyrefitte today, he said that there has been no interim appointment, but that Justice Michelle Arana is a likely candidate as “the most senior” judge on the bench, having been appointed in 2006.  Peyrefitte said that any appointment of the Chief Justice rests with Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Justice Arana has an impressive resume. She studied law at the University of the West Indies and the Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in English and Masters of Law Degree (L.L.M. with Merit) in Commercial Law.  She has served as Magistrate, Crown Counsel in the D.P.P.’s Office, Registrar General of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal in Belize and Legal Advisor to the Social Investment Fund.  She has also worked as an attorney in Offshore Financing  and as a lecturer in Business Law at the University of Belize; and is a Fellow of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute. There is also nothing definitive on whether retired CJ Benjamin will be contracted to tie up loose ends as they pertain to decisions yet to be handed down for cases that he has presided over. As for the cases that have started before Benjamin, such as the re-districting case which is still in its case management phase, those can resume before another judge.

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