Tue | Aug 14, 2018

Bar Association: Urgent comprehensive review of judicial appointments process needed

Published:Saturday | February 3, 2018 | 3:35 PM
Justice Brian Sykes

The Jamaican Bar Association (JAMBAR) says the decision of the government to appoint an acting Chief Justice underscores the need for an urgent comprehensive review of the process of judicial appointments.

The Government last week advised the Governor General to appoint Justice Bryan Sykes to serve as Chief Justice until further advised, setting off a firestorm of criticisms from the Parliamentary Opposition and other stakeholder groups.

In a statement yesterday, the Bar Association made it clear that it fully supported the appointment of Justice Sykes, describing him as intellectually sound and someone with the proven ability to dispense justice in a timely manner.

However, while acknowledging that Prime Minister Andrew Holness has the constitutional authority to appoint an acting Chief Justice, the association questioned the propriety of doing so when there is a clear vacancy. 

In addition, it says public statements by Holness suggesting that the results achieved by the new chief justice will determine whether he is appointed to the post fulltime trespasses on the Chief Justice's autonomy.

The Jamaican Bar Association says although judges are paid from the public purse, no judge serves or must be seen to serve at the pleasure of the Government.