Case details

Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago (Respondent) v Maharaj (Appellant) (Trinidad and Tobago)

Case ID: JCPC 2017/0072

Jurisdiction: The Court of Appeal of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Case summary

  1. Whether s. 110 of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago ("the Constitution") requires the Judicial and Legal Services Commission ("the Commission") to be constituted with five members;
  2. Whether s. 110(3)(b) of the Constitution entitles a retired judge to be appointed as a member of the Commission;
  3. Whether the acts undertaken by a Commission comprising only four members can be validated by virtue of s. 36 of the Interpretation Act.

On 5 June 2017, the Appellant filed a claim seeking an interim injunction to restrain the President from acting on the advice tendered by the Commission to appoint and swear in two judges (the Honourable Jacqueline Wilson and the Honourable Kathy Ann Waterman) to the High Court. The two judges were due to be appointed the following day. The Appellant alleged various breaches of the Constitution arising out of the composition of the Commission, in particular that s.110 requires the Commission to be constituted with five members, not four, and that s.110(3)(b) does not entitle a retired judge to be appointed as a member of the Commission. The judge at first instance granted an interim injunction, ordering the Commission to advise the President to refrain from appointing the judges until the return date of the application. The Attorney-General appealed to the Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago, which allowed the appeal and dismissed the Appellant’s claim. The Court of Appeal was satisfied that the members of the Commission had been properly appointed. The Court of Appeal granted final leave to appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.



Devant Maharaj


Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago



Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lady Black, Lord Lloyd-Jones

Hearing start date

30 Oct 2018

Hearing finish date

30 Oct 2018

Watch hearing
30 Oct 2018 Morning session Afternoon session