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Jun 12, 2020

Removal of Bar President from J.L.S.C. was Unconstitutional

Cheryl-Lyn Vidal

Acting Chief Justice Michelle Arana rendered an oral decision this morning in a claim brought against the Judicial and Legal Services Commission by the Bar Association.  During his tenure as president of the J.L.S.C., former Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin sidelined Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lyn Vidal, who also held the post as head of the legal fraternity, from attending meetings.  Her exclusion from all J.L.S.C. activities was on the basis that Vidal held conflicting roles as both the D.P.P. and Bar Association president.  The matter was heard earlier this year by Justice Arana prior to her appointment as interim Chief Justice.  This morning, via teleconference, a decision was handed down in favour of the Bar Association, however, relief was not granted to the claimant.  Attorney Andrew Marshalleck represents the bar.


Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney, Bar Association

“She gave notice of a decision in the claim of the Bar Association against the Judicial and Legal Services Commission this morning by Skype.”


Isani Cayetano

“What was the outcome in terms of the decision being rendered and where do we go from here?  I ask that because I believe that the tenure of the president of the Bar Association has since expired.”


Andrew Marshalleck

Andrew Marshalleck

“Well the bar has a new president, yes.  Mrs. Vidal is no longer the president of the bar, but where we were, if you can recall, was in the claim we sought a declaration that Mrs. Vidal had been unlawfully, unconstitutionally excluded from the Judicial and Legal Services Commission and that as a consequence of her exclusion from participating in the proceedings of the commission, the decisions of the commission made in the interim period were unconstitutional and void.  What the judge found this morning, and I still haven’t seen the written decision, I’ve sent for it, but basically what she informed us was that she agreed that Mrs. Vidal was unlawfully excluded from the commission’s activities and that as president of the bar she was entitled to and should have served, been appointed to the commission.  But she has refused the Bar Association any of the relief claimed, including the declaration that Mrs. Vidal was unlawfully excluded from the meetings and in particular, including the decision that the consequences of her having been unlawfully excluded from the commission was to invalidate the decisions of the commission.”

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