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New appointments to the ECSC Court of Appeal

Chief Justice Janice Pereira - the Court of Appeal is contemplating having more in-person sittings this year

Three (3) High Court Judges have been elevated to serve as Justices of Appeal on the Bench of the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, which is contemplating conducting in-person sittings on a more frequent basis this year, with the relaxing of the social distancing protocols.

Chief Justice Janice Pereira announced the new appointments by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC) of the Honorable Madam Justice Margaret Price-Findley, Madam Justice Ricky-Ann Ellis, and His Lordship Trevor Ward as Justices of Appeal during her address at the ceremony to open the New Law Year, as the Court embarked on its first in-person sitting since March 2020, with the onset of COVID-19.

The Chief Justice used the opportunity to welcome the appointments, which were made last September.

She referred to them as persons who “have all given remarkable service as Judges of the High Court for a number of years, and are certainly no strangers to the Court of Appeal, having also in the past done short acting stints as Justices of Appeal.”

“I take the opportunity here to welcome them into the Court of Appeal family with every good wish that they will find their sojourn on the appellate bench mentally stimulating, enlightening, and rewarding,” the Chief Justice told the ceremony, which was broadcasted live in the nine (9) Member States and Territories from host county Anguilla.

The appointments follow the retirement last August of Justice of Appeal Her Ladyship Justice Louise Blenman, who went on to become the first woman to ever be appointed as Chief Justice of Belize in September.

Chief Justice Pereira recalled that the retired “Justice of Appeal Blenman (had) joined the court in 2003 on her appointment to the High Court Bench, and was appointed to the Court of Appeal in 2012, where she served until her retirement.

The Court of Appeal also bade farewell to Honourable Davidson Baptiste, who retired as a Justice of Appeal in November.

Dame Janice recalled that “Justice of Appeal Baptiste joined the court of appeal a year after I was appointed as a Justice of Appeal, and until his retirement had been serving as a judicial officer for over 20 years.”

The top female jurist in the OECS, who was sworn in as the first female Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in 2012, placed on the record her “thanks to the retired Court of Appeals Justices for the years of service and dedication to the courts” and wished them “every success for the future.”

Madam Justice Margaret Price-Findlay is a Trinidad and Tobago lawyer and judge, who worked for many years in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

In 2009, the JLSC appointed her as a High Court Judge of the Supreme Court, with the assignment to reside in and hear cases in Grenada, until her departure some years ago.

Madam Justice Vicki -Ann Ellis is a St. Lucian lawyer and judge. She has been a High Court Judge of the ECSC since 2012.

Justice Ward commenced his legal career in 1997 as an Associate in the firm of Gift & Co., Tobago. In 1998, he was appointed State Counsel in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in Trinidad & Tobago and promoted to the post of Senior State Counsel in 2003.

From 2004 to 2005, Justice Ward served as an Associate Tutor in the Law of Evidence at the Hugh Wooding Law School, Trinidad.

In August 2005, he joined the Chambers of the Attorney General in the Cayman Islands, became the first office holder of the newly created position of Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions in 2011, and in 2013, attained the pinnacle of his career at the bar when he was appointed King’s Counsel.

In September 2016, Justice Ward was appointed a Judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and was assigned to the Saint Christopher Circuit, where he presided in both Criminal and Civil Divisions. He also sat temporarily in the Territory of the Virgin Islands and Anguilla.

The Court of Appeal is an itinerant court comprising the Chief Justice and the Justices of Appeal.

It moves from island to island throughout the year in scheduled sittings, and usually sits three (3) times per year in each territory.

The Court of Appeal is expected to sit in Grenada for the first time this year in March.

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