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Female lawyers take over the magistracy

For the first time in Grenada’s history, an all-female cast of barristers-at-law are serving in all the Magistrate’s courts on the island.

Heading the list is Francine Foster who is now serving as Grenada’s Acting Chief Magistrate following the departure of Teddy St Louis from the position on Wednesday.

Former Minister of Legal Affairs Kindra Maturine-Stewart is now sitting on the bench for the first time after receiving her letter of appointment Wednesday from the Office of the Governor-General Dame Cecile La Grenade after it was approved by the St Lucia-based Judicial & Legal Service Commission (JLSC).

Legal sources told THE NEW TODAY that Maturine-Stewart will be assigned to the No.3 Traffic court in St George’s.

Foster, the new acting Chief Magistrate is moving from Grenville to occupy the No.1 Magistrate’s Court in the city.

Her replacement in the Grenville Magistrate’s Court will be Kinna Marrast-Victor who was previously assigned to the St David’s Magistrate’s Court.

Female attorney-at-law Sabina Gibbs is now moving from the Traffic Court to take charge of St David’s.

Longstanding Magistrate Nevlyn John will serve in three courts – Sauteurs, Gouyave and the sister isle of Carriacou.

Magistrate Tahira Gellineau is continuing to sit in the chair at the St George’s No.2 Magistrate’s Court.

A lawyer with over 20 years of experience in the profession was asked to comment on what is now emerging as a clear imbalance in the Magistracy as only females are now sitting on the bench.

He told THE NEW TODAY that the females were getting the jobs not because the males were not attracted to the positions due to the low salaries being offered.

“I don’t think so. It is just reflecting the times, the female people dominate the profession not only in law but in terms of lawyers they are now more female lawyers – about 75%,” he said.

“We men are just dropping out of existence in all professional bodies – even the Engineers which we thought was the safest for the male, the females are not in the majority but they are coming very close to it,” he added.

According to the senior lawyer the females are also dominating among the judges sitting on the bench.

“Look at the benches, it is the ladies (who are sitting) on the benches as judges and now the Magistrates. Our men – we ain’t doing nothing,” he quipped.

A senior female lawyer who also commented on the issue said, the male barrister is more inclined to accept a position as a judge and not as a Magistrate because of the prestige that goes with it in the society.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Legal Affair issued the following release Thursday on the appointment of the new Acting Chief Magistrate and reassignment of Magistrates on the island.

The Ministry of Legal Affairs, Labour and Consumer Affairs announces the appointment of Her Honour Francine Foster as Chief Magistrate (Ag.) with Magisterial responsibility for Southern Court No. 1, effective June 1, 2023.

Her Hon. Foster holds a Bachelor of Laws, LLB from Hugh Wooding Law School and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the post of Chief Magistrate (Ag.), having served in various capacities within the legal system, for over a decade. She has also served as Crown Counsel in the Ministry of Legal Affairs, Deputy Registrar, Supreme Court of Grenada, Magistrate (Ag.) for the Southern District, Magistrate for the Northern and Southern Districts, and her most recent position as Magistrate for the Eastern District.

In addition to the appointment of Her Hon. Francine Foster to the post of Chief Magistrate (Ag.), the Court will also see the reassignment of Magistrates and the appointment of a new Magistrate. These reassignments and new appointment areas follows:

The Hon. Kindra Mathurine-Stewart has been newly appointed as Magistrate for the Traffic Court, Grenada. A highly qualified lawyer with thirteen years of experience in both public and private service, she is an accomplished advocate with a great passion for serving justice through the law.

Having previously served as Minister for Legal Affairs and Minister of Carriacou and Petite Affairs, Hon. Mathurine-Stewart brings her excellent legal skills to bear on behalf of the people of Grenada, by bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the bench.

Hon. Sabina Gibbs will be reassigned as Magistrate on duty at the Western St. Mark and Eastern St. David Districts and Hon. Kinna Marrast-Victor will be reassigned as Magistrate on duty at the Eastern St. Andrew District.

These assignments are meant to enhance the efficiency in dispensing justice, as well as ensure that justice is not delayed, and outcomes are reached in accordance with law.

We take the opportunity to thank outgoing Chief Magistrate, His Honour Teddy St. Louis for his exceptional service for over ten (10) years. During his tenure, he saw a significant increase in the Court’s caseload, and he also helped lead the Court through the implementation of new case processes, as part of our response to COVID-19. This also includes the recent launch of our E-Litigation portal in Grenada.

We wish him well in his future endeavors.

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