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Feb 9, 2021

Ian Haylock Granted Leave for Judicial Review to Challenge Estelle Leslie’s Appointment

Ian Haylock

This morning Supreme Court Justice Westmin James handed down his ruling regarding Ian Haylock and the Attorney General of Belize.  Haylock, through his attorneys, former PM Dean Barrow and former Senate President Darrell Bradley, successfully managed to convince Justice Westmin that he has an arguable case related to the appointment of Estelle Leslie as Comptroller of Customs and Excise.  Haylock’s attorneys made two applications; one for judicial review and another for an interim injunction.  Haylock argues that he was overlooked for the post.  He believes he was next in line to take up the post due to his experience and seniority.   Of note is that the Briceño administration moved the office of Comptroller of Customs and Excise from section one zero six of the constitution to section one zero seven.  This means that the responsibility of the appointed Comptroller of Customs and Excise was taken from the Public Service Commission and placed in the hands of the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister who is required to consult. Haylock is claiming that the government failed to consult and is thus challenging Leslie’s appointment.  The first argument, Justice James allowed leave for judicial review agreeing with the claimant that Prime Minister and Minister of Finance John Briceño did not hold proper consultations with the Public Services Commission as required by section one zero seven of the constitution before advising the Governor-General to appoint Leslie as the Comptroller of Customs. Bradley today reacted to the justice’s decision.


Darrell Bradley

Darrell Bradley, Attorney for Ian Haylock

“I don’t think that the decision was surprising. The judge granted judicial review on the areas n the applicant was seeking. The judge just felt a little bit constraint in terms of granting the interim relief and I think judges generally tend to me and the judge cited several authorities on that in terms of restraining the executive. There is a principal in law about separation of powers and the courts are guarded to interfere in the authority of the executive and legislature the judgment mentioned points which suggest that the claim by the applicant is strong in terms of the lack of consultations. The constitution mandatory requirement to have consultations and what was done in other precedents and what was done from the rejoin and internationally. So we are satisfied in relation to the arguments of the judges that he was satisfied that there were sufficient of an arguable case. In the circumstances where there is a mandatory requirement in the constitution so that there are provisions in there that says that this, it has to be genuine. It has to be substantive so that what we contend that that creates a pre-condition for the lawful exercise of the authority. So that if you did not consult then that means that the appointment will be void. That is where we are going with that particular argument and I think in respect to those notion I think that there are ample case law to support that.”

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