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Bar calls for the Chief Justice’s resignation

On Friday members of the Bar Association of Belize met to discuss the backlog of cases sitting on the desk of the Chief Justice, Kenneth Benjamin. The Bar is not satisfied with the CJ’s performance and they want him to rule on twenty eight outstanding cases by December of this year. If he does not, then the Bar has asked him to resign. And if he does not resign, then the Bar will file a complaint to the Judicial and Legal Services Commission seeking his removal. According to President Attorney Priscilla Banner, the Bar Association has lost confidence in the Chief Justice.

Priscilla Banner – President of the Bar Association

The Bar Association has been meeting with the Honorable Chief Justice since 2014 both in formal and informal meetings attempting to deal with judgments that were delayed. Recall that the judgments are delayed the ones that are on the list are for the period up to 2015 and those judgments as of today’s date are outstanding for between 2-5 years. So it is not that the bar association has waited for those judgments to be outstanding for two to five years. At the point we met in 2014 there were judgments at that time outstanding for two years which even the Caribbean Court of Justice has said that three years is excessive. The Privy Council has said that three to six months is reasonable but once you go beyond that you have to think about the litigants who are entitled to have their matters dealt with in a reasonable amount of time. And going back to your direct question that provides a schedule but we also received a schedule in June of 2016 and that scheduled concerned the same 28 judgments that are now outstanding and that schedule said that those judgments would be delivered two per week and the reason that the bar very heavily had to decide this matter and not with any fanfare it was a very heavy thing to do but the reason the bar felt that it was necessary I’d because that schedule even not with the specific dates it has been provided before.