Outgoing Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme
Court (ECSC), Sir Hugh Rawlins has admonished a group of local law students to humble themselves when looking at avenues to practice their profession.
In a marathon address of one hour and six minutes to the legal fraternity in Grenada who had gathered during a special sitting of the Supreme Court of Grenada last week Wednesday to bid farewell to the Chief Justice (CJ) who retires at the end of July, Justice Rawlins was quite pleased to see the large number of students who were present at the court whom he said are the ones who would be carrying on “tomorrow.”
The CJ told the students he would not want them to decide today where exactly they would want to work.
However he said all they need to do is to continuously work hard at what they do and everything else will be added.
“If you decide that you wish to put your energies into work, you can achieve anything,” he remarked.
CJ Rawlins said that based on his experience and knowledge, he has found that those who decide early where they wish to go and what they want, do not care who are “trampled under their feet,” in order to get there.
He noted that in most cases they do not achieve it, and yet they do not realise it.
The outgoing CJ pointed out that these lawyers do not even stop to reflect because they are so focused on the end game that they do not stop to think of what their actions do to others.
According to CJ Rawlins, those who simply work and focus invariable get to places where, in their wildest imagination, they never thought of.
The regional jurist was first engaged in teaching before he embarked on a career in law.
Meanwhile, a number of lawyers practicing in the Eastern Caribbean are soon to be named Senior Counsels.
Justice Rawlins said that within the next week the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court would be able to announce the names of those lawyers who are qualified for such status.
He also saw the need for retired judges to become useful in providing service to the court.
The Chief Justice said that notwithstanding the fact that the retirement age may be 65, judges should be able to decide at what time they would like to call it off.
He stated that although they are retired they can work for such time as they think their energies are used up.
“That is what happens in the Canada experience up to this day. But how could it not be that we can have retired judges, and instead of putting them out to pasture and indicating to them that they are now of no statutory or other use, we cannot have them sitting on our benches,” he said.
CJ Rawlins pointed out that he decided to raise the issue in light of the many complaints that are made to him about retired judges still being able to sit on the bench.
“I have to say openly, it is because we can benefit from their experience because they can benefit from continuing to sit and they can remain useful for a little longer,” he said.
“Why is it in the Caribbean where we have little resources we always want to put those resources far away as quickly as possible, and in developed countries where they have many resources they can decide that they want to have the benefit from the experience of those resources?” he questioned.
Up until this current assizes, Justice Lyle St. Paul who retired in 2001 was constantly called back to assist in presiding over criminal matters.
The retiring Chief Justice also used the occasion to invite the lawyers who are in private practice to offer their services by way of sacrifice “in a labour of love” to the ECSC.
He said at times the administrators of justice who are attached to ECSC are hard pressed in their duties.
The Chief Justice believes by coming forward and providing service to the court, the private lawyers would appreciate the workload of the Appeal Court.