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Appointment of Senior Counsel depends on Office of the President, says Chancellor of the Judiciary

Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Carl Singh (left) and President Donald Ramotar in conversation after the opening of the recently held 2015 Police Officers’ Conference.

Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Carl Singh has said that the long-awaited appointment of Senior Counsel now depends on the Office of the President.

“The trouble is the Office of the President is yet to say we are ready for your recommendations. They have not given that hint,” he told Demerara Waves Online News in a recent interview.

Senior Counsel appointments have not been made since 1996.

Justice Singh said a “considerable number” of less than two dozen lawyers have formally expressed interest in being appointed Senior Counsel but “some (are) deserving and some for many reasons (are) not so deserving,” he said. “There are many aspirants out there,” he added.

The Chancellor of the Judiciary said his office had endeavoured to be in a “state of readiness” to submit the names to the Office of the President when invited to do so.

He said the process included prior consultation with a group of Senior Counsel. Judges, he said, were also invited to make recommendations but few have been forthcoming. “Most of them have not and that was the last event in the process of evaluation,” he said.

Justice Singh said the failure to appoint Senior Counsel since 1996 has affected the morale of members of the Bar. “One obvious effect that I would think  is that lawyers who are clearly and without a doubt eminently suited for elevation makes a measure of disillusionment,” he said.

The Chancellor assured that the quality of service offered by lawyers to their clients is not diluted if they are not appointed Senior Counsel. “He gives of his best. It is giving of his best that catapults him into that lofty position,” he said.