Case details

Attorney General of Trinidad & Tobago (Appellant) v Ayers-Caesar (Respondent) (Trinidad & Tobago)

Case ID: JCPC 2019/0014

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

Case summary

Issue(s)
  1. Whether the majority of the Court of Appeal was correct to find that the first instance judge gave reasons for finding the President’s refusal to reinstate the Respondent was reviewable and, if not, whether the that failure to give reasons in fact mattered.
  2. Whether the President made any decision or omission in relation to the Respondent’s resignation that is capable of review.
  3. Whether, in the circumstances, the President erred in law in refusing to take any steps regarding, or to accede to the Respondent’s request for, reinstatement.
  4. Whether the majority of the Court of Appeal was wrong in law in holding that in any event the claim should be allowed to be pursued on public interest grounds.
  5. Whether in any event it is necessary for the President, through the Attorney-General, to be a party to the Respondent’s claim.
Facts

The Respondent was appointed as a High Court Judge after 25 years as a Magistrate. On 10 April 2017, two days before she was sworn in, the Respondent was asked to identify matters that she had part-heard as a Magistrate. This request was made by the Chief Justice, who is also the head of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (‘JLSC’). The Appellant gave details of 28 cases; however, the Acting Chief Magistrate prepared a list of 52. Following communications about the part-heard matters, the Chief Justice and the Respondent met on 27 April 2017. At that meeting, the Chief Justice allegedly informed the Respondent that the JLSC had decided that she must resign or it would advise the President of Trinidad and Tobago to revoke her appointment. Later that day, the Respondent gave the President a letter of resignation.

On 19 May 2019, the Respondent wrote to the President setting out the manner in which she had purportedly been forced to resign. She asserted that, as this was unlawful and unconstitutional, it was of no effect. The President responded that it was not appropriate for him to comment or act on that letter. The Respondent then commenced proceedings seeking review of decisions of both the JLSC and the President.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Attorney General of Trinidad & Tobago

Respondent(s)

Marcia Ayers-Caesar

Appeal

Justices

Lord Carnwath, Lady Black, Lord Briggs, Lord Kitchin, Lord Sales

Hearing start date

14 Nov 2019

Hearing finish date

14 Nov 2019

Watch hearing
14 Nov 2019 Morning session